Two Flat Whites

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Interview with Jess Harris, Co-creator of ABC’s Twentysomething

Estelle Pigot throws the curly questions at Jess Harris, one of the creators of ABC2’s popular series twentysomething (DVDs in stores now!) which is now in its 2nd series.

Two Flat Whites also has 5 twentysomething Season 1 DVDs signed by both Jess and Josh available for our readers to win. Details are on our Facebook page.

Twenty_Something_S2_R-113872-9_3D[2] 

Where did the initial idea of Twentysomething spring from?

 JH: Josh [Schmidt, co-creator] and I were in the thick of our twenties. We found constant humour in the ups and downs of the life we were living. One minute you had not a care in the world, the next you were freaking out how to pay rent, hating your job and wondering if we would ever have any sense of creative fulfillment. We felt out of control of our own future, so we decide to take matters into our own hands and create a comedy about the life we were living.

 

What do you think your 20’s should be all about? Do your characters Josh and Jess have the right idea?

JH: I think your 20s is a time of exploration and freedom. Jess and Josh are making the most of being young; they are enjoying an era where you can be selfish and a little reckless. But there is also the burning desire to make your mark, to find your passion and purpose.

 

As actors, you might know something personally about odd-jobs and casual employment….

JH: We have done every sort of casual employment you can think of, from waiting tables, ripping tickets at cinemas, retail, babysitting, cleaners you name it. Even though, at the time, they weren’t the dream job, I look back on them all with fondness.

 

Are relationships a struggle during this decade of life? 

JH: Finding the perfect twentysomething partner in crime is such a huge part of your twenties, but it’s also a time you crave adventure and independence. My advice would be – enjoy the single life for as long as you can, it’s such a fleeting window of youth and freedom, run wild!

 

Was it a dream come true when you came across from Channel 31 to ABC?

JH: Definitely. It was the ultimate. ABC2 was the prefect next progression for the show.

 

What is Hamish Blake like to work with? 

JH: He’s the best. We have been friends with Hamish since high-school, so we are all so comfortable with each other. He brings such a sense of lightness to the set, he makes me laugh like not many others can, he is so sharp and funny, with such a massive heart. His character Billy brings out the sweet and vulnerable side in Jess, it’s the perfect balance to the show.

jess-and-josh

We have heard you hate the question, “What are you doing with yourselves?” but what are you up to next?

JH: You are right, we get anxious when we hear that question. We would love to stay twentysomething forever and live vicariously through Jess and Josh, I think a 3rd season would be amazing, to see them turn 30 would be the ultimate ending to an amazing chapter.

 

Follow twentysomething on Facebook  & go onto Two Flat White’s Facebook page to win one of 5 signed DVDs!

 

Local and Imported Brews

FILM REVIEW: THE WORLD’S END

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REVIEWED BY CRITIC, FILM BUFF & BEER CONNOISSEUR F.P. BLUCK

PLACE: 10:30 am, Hoyts Belconnen, Cinema 7

PIC: The World’s End

PEEPS: The Lovely Companion and I were about half the crowd.

 

The government electoral ad, but not the one for jobs, and the grating PillowTalk one with a bit of product placement*, plus a new one for someone building ecologically sound houses.  More previews than I can remember, including Now You See Me, We’re the Millers, Pain and Gain, Kick-Ass 2 and Runner, Runner (Ben Affleck runs a dodgy online poker site,  Justin Timberlake confronts him and there’s a non-virtual violence depicted).  The LC and I played the game of thunbs up and down, and I suspect she has better taste, or maybe an even lower tolerance for utter silliness than I do.

For the film was pretty silly, though well-made and with some structure.  Many years before, Gary King (Simon Pegg) and his four mates finished school and decided to do the Golden Mile, a pub crawl through their town of Newton Haven**.  They failed, as teenagers will when confronted by quantities of alcohol if they don’t start king-hitting passing pedestrians.  Years later, the friends (played by Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Nick Frost and Paddy Considine) are prevailed upon or deceived by Gary into trying to succeed as men where they had failed as boys.  It gives nothing away that the friends have moved on with their adult lives, with some success, while Gary remains beached as an eternally irresponsible teenager.  He is as embarrassing and irremovable as a drunkenly unwise tattoo with the name of the last woman one met misspelt or the Chinese characters for “No MSG on Request”****.   He acts like an idiot because it’s not been brought to his attention, through the layers of self-induced addling. that he shouldn’t, because what is merely silly in a boy is disgusting and tiresome in a man.

THEWORLDSEND

The town has changed, and not in a good way.  Some of the pubs are now, in effect, parts of chains of identical establishments and have lost the character they used to have.  At least a couple serve Foster’s****.  And the people are different, in a way which will not utterly surprise anyone who saw Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.  Mayhem and special effects seem to be on a bigger scale than either of those films, but a pretty reliable supply of jokes and sight-gags, plus a couple of cameos (Pierce Brosnan, Bill Nighy) and a nice supporting role by Rosamund Pike***** keep the pace up and there’s even a drunkenly rational motive for continuing the pub crawl that is beyond any sober argument.  An untaken opportunity to reflect on what maturity is supposed to be (rather than not be) and a clever mining of the issue of whether sane and considered behaviour is a necessary condition for humanity******. 

No prizes for guessing the ending or its consequences. 

Three flat whites.  Local microbrewery chasers.

 

FPB

 

 

* – though it has occurred to me that the Ashton Kutcher piece called Jobs is likely to be an extensive commercial for Apple, and one we will pay to see.  I mean, we paid to see The Social Network, didn’t we?

** – actually somewhere bizarrely called Welwyn Garden City.  I mean, no-one calls Queanbeyan “Near Canberra Parasite City”, do they?  Well, not if they’re talking to people from Queanbeyan (aka Struggletown).

***  – we’ve all seen NRL players.

**** – don’t mind me, I just made a spitting noise.  Calling it Australian is like calling the old Eskimo Pie icecream a product of Alaska (though it’s branded with an inappropriate and obsolete name for a kind of native North American people).

***** – I won’t do “sigh” because the LC was there.

****** – it’s probably not – I’ve travelled on enough public transport where it’s been in short supply – but it might make things better if we could get around to it sometime.

The Art of Dollmaking: Dolls By Bourke

This interview first appeared on WATERMARX GRAPHICS‘ blog ( a blog dedicated to celebrating the craft of letterpress and paper design )dollsbybourke 

Recently we bought a beautiful, customised doll for our daughter from Dolls By Bourke. Not only is Bourke, the man behind this venture, a clever graphic designer in his own right (and one half of the dynamic duo, Kinski & Bourke who built this site) but his handcrafted creations are taking the design community by storm. It’s just another example of this renaissance of craftsmanship we are enjoying here in Australia. Just like letterpress, his work bears the mark of craft – it’s handmade not mass made – so each doll is unique and the product of time and care.

How did you begin making dolls?
I serendipitously found myself in an Eckersley’s shop one day. Being surrounded by crafty things got me in the creative spirit, and I’d wanted to cultivate an artistic hobby for some time that was not my job. So I bought some clay!

Do you model your dolls on real people or your imagination? 
Both. At first it was just my imagination, but then my nephew’s first birthday was coming up and I thought a doll fashioned in his likeness would make an excellent and special gift! Then people began asking me if they could commission me to make a doll version of their friend/baby etc. But I don’t want to limit myself to just traditional dolls. At the moment I’m working on a doll that has ‘died’ named Gina – she will be a complete skeleton and have her own casket – I am very much looking forward to experimenting with paints and textures to create the look and feel of decay. I have a lot of ideas brewing and it would be great to have an exhibition some time. I want to start sculpting birds and other animals, too.

How long does it take you to make one?
It depends. I’m a graphic designer by day, so the amount of time I can spend sculpting depends on my current workload. It takes a while for the clay to completely dry so a project can be on hold for several days or sometimes even weeks before I can do any more work on it. Once the sculpture is dry, the most arduous process of sanding begins – I like the dolls to have very smooth surfaces, so firstly I start with a course sandpaper and then move on to a fine grit sandpaper to get the smoothest result. My Dremel power tool often comes in handy for sanding and polishing. Painting doesn’t take too long. But making an outfit is pretty time consuming – lots of sewing and measuring. I had no experience with ‘couturiering’ so it’s been a learning curve. Short answer: about a month.

What is the history or tradition of doll making? 
In ancient times dolls were often used in magic rituals. Sometimes the doll would be given to children to play with afterwards, but oftentimes a doll would be considered too laden with supernatural powers to be given to a child. There have been a lot of South American child mummies unearthed, perfectly preserved, clutching their crudely made dolls – cute but also sad. Come to think of it, I’d like to make some ritualistic, tribal-type dolls. It’s this aspect of the history and traditions of doll making that interests me, rather than the idea of an old man or lady tinkering in her workshop while drinking Earl Grey.

What are some reasons to have a doll made by you?
It makes the perfect gift. My sculptures are completely handmade and one-of-a-kind, no copies and no moulds. You will have a unique treasure that nobody else owns. Use it as a paperweight or a conversation starter.

How can one order a customised doll?
Head on down to my website Dolls By Bourke and let me know what you have in mind. If your doll is going to be based on somebody living or dead, I will probably request some photos I can use as reference.

 

Courtesy of Watermarx Graphics www.watermarx.net

NSW Winter Weekender | Cultured Canowindra

 

Suffering from a decidedly soggy case of the sniffles we bypassed the ambitious original plan to let Brünhilde (the beloved KTM 900 mortorbike) stretch her wheels and opted to hire a car. We got a pretty good deal through Thrifty with a few insurance upgrades thrown in and a 15% discount thanks to my membership with NRMA (just book online to reap the rewards, otherwise it’s 10% over the phone) and roared over the Blue Mountains in a nifty Suzuki Swift.

Our destination was Canowindra. Only 4 hours from Sydney, Canowindra has the misfortune of a perpetually mispronounced appellation. Out-of-towners are spotted instantly for asking; “How far to Cann-oh-win-dra?” Where locals and those in-the-know realise that it should be: Ca-nouwn-dra. (Obvs.)

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We pulled into Orange to breakfast at Factory Espresso. This mod-oz brunch spot would be right at home in Newtown or Prahran. Housed in an old mechanical workshop, it is complete with a coffee roastery out the back and they serve house-brewed blends such as The Godfather and Decaf Redux which you can try as a syphon, cold drip and pour over coffee experience. I had the tapioca porridge, he had the eggs.

Slightly intimidated by the “bookings only” policy some local wineries enforce for cellar-door tastings, we found Canobolas-Smith (between Orange and Canowindra) for a taste of the local fruits of the vine. Murray Smith, I later learnt, was one of the early pioneers of the wine-growing scene in Orange. He’s been at it since the 1980’s but has kept the place a friendly, hands-on operation. The viticulturist amused us with tales of the Australian wine tasting scene while we sipped his spectacular chardonnay. I bought a bottle for $40 which left me feeling a little robbed but it did taste great.

The superstar standout treat of the trip was pulling up into Belubula Cottage  , overlooking the Belubula Valley, just outside town. This place was recommended to me by the owners of taste Canowindra but my expectations were not high, so imagine my surprise and delight when the manageress, Marg, emailed me asking my favourite foods for breakfast! I should have known then I was in for something special.

We entered the little self-contained cottage to cosy heating and a kitchen full of treats like marshmallows and drinking chocolate, freshly bakes bread and butter, a stack full of Country Style magazines and bath salts just waiting to be sprinkled into the clawed bathtub which overlooks the bucolic vista outside. The place was heaven and redefines country hospitality. Marg had thought of absolutely everything, from plush robes hanging in the bedroom (think about it, when was the last time a mid-range hotel gave you that?) to cooking spices to go with the eggs and bacon she popped in the fridge. I have not stayed anywhere like this for years and couldn’t recommend it more highly.

Then, finally, we arrived (via the local, and only, cabbie in town) at Taste. A cultural hub in the rolling hills of the Central West, this is the place to taste the region’s best wines, enjoy gourmet food, arts and music, Bob and Marg Craven have created a perfect little niche. We had booked tickets to see the Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier show and dinner they were hosting, and we weren’t disappointed. Treated to the best seats in the house, we listened to the pair sing and play their way through their new album Stories of Ghosts . Conway’s acerbic humour and sarcasm are nicely counter-weighted by Willy’s chill-factor but they are both a very entertaining pair. Washed down with a local red, we were escorted back home by our friend the taxi man, and curled up in our cast iron bed to fall asleep listening to the rain gently drum the roof.

Story by Estelle Pigot

CLARE BOWDITCH – Winter Secrets Tour 2013

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Clare Bowditch Winter Secrets Tour 2013

with special guest SPENDER

Saturday 17th Aug

 Byron Community Centre

 Tix: $43 Pre / $48 Door – 8pm start

www.clarebowditch.com

In the spirit of “Random Creative Adventures”, Clare Bowditch is celebrating the release of her new single “One Little River” by heading out on the road with a new band.

Winter Secret is a concept and an experience… that sells out every year.

CB takes one super-talented collaborator (last time it was Lanie Lane, this time it’s new wunder-kind Spender), and creates an absolutely mind-blowing show that travels all around Australia and offers the opportunity for audience members to join the band for an incredibly unique and unforgettable night. One really talented musician in each state joins Clare on stage for a cover of One Little River and be in the running for $1000 worth of prizes (info on the audition process at www.clarebowditch.com –  Clare chooses all winners).

The inimitable female singer songwriter Clare Bowditch has had a busy few years as a mum and evolving performer. In 2012 she was placed her into the heads and hearts of 10’s hugely popular TV show Off spring. 2011 she was crowned Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘Woman of the Year’ for her contribution to culture. She was also handpicked by the legendary Leonard Cohen to open shows on his Australian tour.

Winter Secrets is moving, heartfelt, hilarious, and authentic.

Don’t miss out…here’s what the reviewers said:

 

REVIEWS FOR CLARE’S LAST WINTER SECRETS:

“This woman is without a doubt, one of the most entertaining artists I have ever had the pleasure of seeing perform live. I came for a music show and instead received a comedy set” – fasterlouder.com.a

“I say ‘extreme’ because it was the most involved I have ever seen members of an audience… The spectacle showcased by Clare Bowditch was testament to her being not just a talented lady, but an entrepreneurial performer with an ability to keep the spirit and soul of her music alive after many years round the traps. This is a major feat” – artshub.com.au

“With her Winter Secrets tour, Clare Bowditch uses music, pantomime, unexpected comedy, a few dance lessons and audience participation to create a safe space to open up in.” – Rave Magazine

Hard Stuff – The Hunt

FILM REVIEW: THE HUNT

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REVIEWED BY CRITIC, FILM BUFF & BEER CONNOISSEUR F.P. BLUCK

PLACE: Palace Electric, Cinema 7

PIC: The Hunt

PEEPS: About 10 present

 

Palace definitely has better previews than some others: Behind the Candelabra (Michael Douglas and Matt Damon play house as Liberace and friend) and a French thing called In The House, which looks better than ordinary as a talented student turns creative writing into something more visceral. The ads were pretty much yada yada yada; real estate, Honda, food. Coffee beforehand was ok.

The Hunt is about as far from Man of Steel or any other redrawn cartoon as it is possible to be. (Not that I’ve seen Man of Steel yet but the previews give little ground for expecting more than a surface level sweep and less irony than a Macca’s commercial). Full of complicated people (you know, like actual humans) and empty of CGI or other whitewashes over an average production. It’s set in a small, close-knit Swedish community where people go about their daily lives, brightening them with deer hunting and (more particularly) the celebration of a blokey culture around the business of killing Bambi and friends. One member of the group is Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), helping out in a kindergarten after the local boys’ school closed; his duties seem mostly to involve being jumped upon by small, giggling children. Lucas is estranged from his wife and desperate to see more of his teenage son Marcus. His best friend is Theo (Tomas Bo Larsen) whom he has known since childhood, but he is slowly drifting into a relationship with Nadja (Alexandra Rapaport).

The event that turns an idyll into a drama is that Theo’s daughter, Klara (Annika Wedderkop, in a performance of stunning maturity for a very young child), accuses Lucas of sexual abuse. The response of the kindergarten principal, Grethe, is completely understandable but it creates an impossible situation. Lucas’ lifestyle and relationships are destroyed in a sequence that plays out over a grey Scandinavian winter, even as he tries to go through a semblance of his normal life. He and Marcus encounter violence and rejection from those who, reasonably enough, are repelled by the monster living in their town.

twoflatwhites_thehunt-filmreview

Too often, films find an easy way through something that challenges the way a society sees itself, and that happens here, to some extent. But this film also creates a jumping off point for a debate about one of the hardest issues in public policy and private conduct; at what point is a threat, which may or may not have substance, sufficient to warrant a destructive response? No-one wants a paedophile in his or her neighbourhood, town, state or (in fact) dimension, and for good reason, they are horrible and should not be able to give effect to their desires. Yet, at what point in the matrix of reliable evidence and gravity of threat is it reasonable to react? Where evidence is recognised as unreliable, at what point is it sensible to disregard the threat it engenders?  Can a community, and should it, act so as to restore a social position?  Can we forgive a wrong that may never have been, and can a victim forgive a wrong done in anger and just outrage?

See it with a teacher, a philosopher, a police officer, but allow time for its complexity to sink in before speaking. If thinking about the plot and its implications gets too hard – as it must – think about some riveting performances and a landscape that seems to require seriousness of thought.

Four flat whites.

FPB

Heath Cullen, Wandering Star

 

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Heath Cullen was raised and lives in the Bega Valley in a dairy shed on his mother’s property. He has no plans to move from his little community of Candelo because he cherishes the peaceful surrounds and the fact that he can play his guitar as loudly as he likes without any complaints from neighbours. But last year he went wandering the world. Estelle Pigot, from Regional Arts NSW, discovers what he found out there.  [Story curtesy of Regional Arts NSW]

Having spent a decade touring Australia as a session guitarist and producer-for-hire (working with the likes of Kate Fagan, Jackie Marshall and Tim Freedman), blues and roots singer-songwriter Heath Cullen released his first album A Storm Was Coming But I Didn’t Feel Nothing in 2010. It was recorded in his hometown, the tiny village of Candelo, NSW and was a worthy debut. Commentators likened Cullen’s sound to that of music greats like Cormac McCarthy, Patti Smith and Townes Van Zandt.

Then, last year, a lifelong affair with the music of America’s 1950’s and 1960’s was enough to lure the country boy from his sleepy home to LA on a journey collecting stories and sounds. He travelled through the United States on a journey he describes as “a pilgrimage through the musical holy land of the American south”. read more on Heath Cullen, Wandering Star»

Hanging On – The Hangover

The Hangover III

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FILM REVIEWED BY CRITIC, FILM BUFF & BEER CONNOISSEUR F.P. BLUCK

PLACE:LImelight Cinema 2

PIC: The Hangover III

PEEPS: 2 present

LImelight ads are sort of different.  Foxtel this time, plus a couple of ISPs.  Previews for The Heat (ill-matched cop buddy movie with women), Fast and Furious 6,  Grown Ups 2 (I’ll just say it includes Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade before disinfecting the keyboard) and and Superman:  The Unpteenth Remake or whatever it’s called*.

“When I became a man, I put away these childish things**”.

This is number three in the franchise, as the title suggests, and it looks like it has run out of steam***.   Alan (Zach Galifianakis) has been off his medication for a while and is clearly becoming an ageing embarrassment to those around him.  Essentially, he’s a  non-too-stable 13-year-old in a chubby 42-year-old body.   So, naturally (this being the USA) his friends arrange an intervention where he is prevailed upon to enter treatment.  They (Bradley Cooper as Phil, Ed Helms as Stu and Justin Bartha as Doug) have all started to act like adults, and they offer to take Alan to the treatment facility.  Meanwhile, Lesley Chow (Ken Jeong) has staged a Shawshank Redemption escape from prison in Thailand.  Can we see where this is going? …Because if we can’t, we’re probably the target audience for a film like this****.

THE HANGOVER PART III

It’s not as vile as some reviews may have suggested.  There are some OK sight gags but they are overpowered by the racial/sexual overtones surrounding the treatment of Mr Chow***** and the mental condition of Alan.  It sets out to be a movie about Alan’s much delayed attainment of maturity.  By definition, this forces the other members of the group to emphasise safe, caring, suburban values.  In a way, the discomfort shown by Phil at some of the things said and done is as much about the fact that Bradley Cooper’s career has moved on and up and that returning to this particular bowl of nonsense isn’t likely to do him any good.  Ed Helms has a growing status as a character actor but it is difficult to see where Galifianakis can go next.

 

Two flat whites.  The thing cost $62 million.

 

FPB

 

* – ok, I checked.  It’s called Man of Steel and gives Our Russ an opportunity to intone in a voice that could sell drinking chocolate to anyone.

** – I Corinthians 13:11

*** – with that said, even I could see a couple of start points for another one.  Don’t. Go. There.

**** – grubby minded teenagers fed up with constraints and having to do homework, and such.

***** – hint.  The fact that someone is Asian and effeminate does not make everything that person says or does funny.  And people with mental illness have not been used as sources of amusement for many years in some societies.

Rights! Comedy! Action!

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Rights! Comedy! Action!  is coming to Sydney for May.  Hosted by ActionAid Australia it features an all-female line-up of Australians top comedy talents united to fight injustice with laughter as part of this year’s Sydney Comedy Festival

Judith Lucy, Wendy Harmer, Claire Hooper and Gina Yashere are all part of the show which is on at the Enmore Theatre on the 9th of May at 9.30pm.

ActionAid Australia’s Holly Miller says that Rights! Comedy! Action! is an exciting moment for Sydney, and for women’s empowerment internationally. “Laughter is a symbol of women’s empowerment, and we’re really excited to be working with the Sydney Comedy Festival and a group of such inspiring women to provide Sydney-siders with an opportunity to stand in solidarity with women all over the world, simply by coming along and laughing together.”

  ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights for all and defeat poverty. All proceeds from the event will go towards ActionAid’s work empowering women. 

Tickets are selling out, so hurry! Tickets are $39 or $34 for groups of 8 or more.                                                    

Fort more information or to book tickets go to ActionAid Australia’s website

The Loop Relaunch Party

On Thursday 11th April, creative portfolio website The Loop, some of Australia’s finest creative industry figures to celebrate the relaunch of their site.

Guests were given the opportunity to view some of the outstanding work that exists on The Loop. In the run up to the event, creatives with profiles on The Loop were  invited to exhibit at the party, giving them the opportunity to not only attend and network with some of the biggest names in the creative industry, but also to showcase, discuss and sell their work.  Works by Ben Brown, Simone Darcy, Hayley O’Connor, Meeri Anneli, Julia Ockert and We Buy Your Kids were on show.

Design Federation’s Estelle Pigot attended and had the chance to catch up with Twitter acquaintance, James Noble, of Carter Digital, in the flesh. Carter Digital were appointed by The Loop to drive the design and development of the website’s redesign, creating a site that’s clean, easy to navigate, non-obtrusive and with very clear calls to action. The greatest challenge for these “Digital Httpsters” was to meet the highly aesthetic design expectations of the community The Loop represents? A challenge that would intimidate even the most experienced of designers.  They pulled together a team that included Sex, Drugs and Helvetica and Positive Posters founder, Nick Hallam, and delivered a damn fine job.

The Loop has grown to be Australia’s leading destination for creative professionals – it connects creatives with companies, collaborators and job opportunities from design and development to account management, animation and production.

The party took place at MTV, in Surry Hills and drinks were on Rekoderlig Cider, Mount Franklin, Little Creatures, Ketel One Vodka, Jim Beam and Jagermeister.

Create you The Loop profile today and connect to your creative community.

 

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