Throughout the 2008 Biennale of Sydney, the public is invited to book a conversation lasting up to 45 minutes with artist and writer Ross Gibson. These conversations take place in the lobby at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Five conversations are available each day and Gibson will keep an online log, of the clustered topics that emerge during the three months.
I decided that this would be interesting and it’s so wonderful that I have time to do this because I got made redundant (still a little dirty about it -no?). So basically Ross Gibson sits in a booth in the foyer of the AGNSW and conducts these “interviews”, well more like conversations. I think I probably talked too much, but tried to get some info out of him too. We talked about Sydney, work, family, home, real estate (of course – we’re in Sydney), Yoko Ono, other people he had conversations with, blogging, the internet, how he got this gig at the Biennale etc. I enjoyed being in art but he didn’t blog about me later – oh well.
This is the blog:
The last week of the film festival included a visit by Gabby and baby Ruby from Wellington. It was an interesting experience having an 8 month old living with us for a week. It’s amazing what she would lick or stick in her mouth! Anyway, she was a really good, happy little baby and she really seemed to like me (unlike most other babies, which gives people the impression that I don’t like children). I had fun going to see the Biennale at the MCA & AGNSW with Gab & Ruby. The highlight was the opening night of Refashioning the Fashion at Object Gallery – the exhibition that Gabby and Chelsea had contributed an artwork for.
Back to the SFF:
On the Friday I saw The Cool School – The rise of the Los Angeles’ beat-era art scene, with archival footage, interviews with artists and critics, as well as an early collector, Dennis Hopper at the State Theatre. I really enjoyed this one, I didn’t know much about the LA art scene in the 50s and 60s (except for Ed Kienholz, Ed Ruscha) – it’s always about New York, so I learnt a lot. There was great archival footage and interviews, as well as more recent interviews with the same artists now. Of course, there was a bit of Andy Warhol in it too (his first solo exhibition was in LA), so that was a bonus.
On Saturday we saw Glass: a Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts – Scott Hicks’ eloquent portrait of Philip Glass includes interviews with Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese and was filmed over a year in which the renowned composer staged the opera Waiting for the Barbarians, wrote his eighth symphony and scored several films. This was excellent and the session was sold out. This was such an interesting documentary by Scott Hicks who introduced the film (I love little surprises like that). I wouldn’t say I am a huge fan of Philip Glass, I have probably enjoyed many of his film soundtracks without realising it was him. One soundtrack that I love is The Hours. I had wanted to get this CD as soon as I saw the film in 2003 but never got around to it. I had it on my Amazon wishlist for years and my sister-in-law gave it to me for my birthday this year. I’ve been caning (as much as you can cane a classical CD) since then. It was so interesting to see his work and private life as well as hear from his family, colleagues and friends (who happen to be famous artists themselves).
Next up straight after Glass was The Chicken, the Fish and the King Crab – The gourmet’s Iron Chef! The Bocuse d’Or is a bi-annual cooking contest in which the creation of undeniably complex dishes is performed live in front of an audience and judging panel. This Spanish doco was very funny and exciting, the audience of Sydney film/food buffs seemed to enjoy this very much too. The Spanish chef who was one of the main subjects kept patting his apprentice on the butt and telling him get a move on.
Turns out that gastro was actually Salmonella! WOW lucky me, that’s one I haven’t had before, well maybe I have but I didn’t have a test to find out for sure. I feel OK now, but I have to have another test in a month. Thanks for your concern and maybe I need to stop eating public food again.
Here are some potential culprits:
The food hall at Northpoint, North Sydney (Japanese Beef Bento or Roast Beef Roll), Asagao on Pitt Street (various sushi).
Now everybody sing….
Apu: You see, whether igloo, hut, or lean-to, or a geodesic dome,
There’s no structure I have been to, which I’d rather call my home.
When I first arrived, you were all such jerks,
But now I’ve come to looooooove your quirks.
Maggie with her eyes so bright,
Marge with hair by Frank Lloyd Wright,
Lisa can philosophise,
Bart’s adept at spinning lies,
Homer’s a delightful fella,
Sorry ’bout the salmonella.
Homer: Heh heh, that’s OK.
On to the 2nd week of the Sydney Film Festival. Unfortunately, during this week of festivities I had a bad case of gastro (as an added bonus to my usual IBS issues), but I managed to drag myself to the movies – such dedication (I just tried to make sure I had an aisle seat).
First up was Tokyo Sonata – A story about an ordinary Japanese family told with the psychic leaps of a Haruki Murakami novel, the compositional playfulness of Jacques Tati and more than a hint of stylistic tribute to 60s Japanese cinema. Although it was up for the Official Competition, I found it to be too abstract and boring by the end. One of those, I hope this movie finishes soon reactions. We didn’t even bother sticking around for the Q&A with the producers at the end.
The Wackness – This smart and funny teen flick centres of the relationship between dope-dealing Luke Shapiro, who peddles his wares from an icecream cart and Dr Squires, his twitchy, pot smoking shrink. Well I don’t know if it was that smart but it was OK. I have decided Ben Kingsley who plays Dr Squires is an awesome actor. I liked the nineties-ness of the film – the young Luke Shapiro still makes mix tapes for people. It had a pretty cool soundtrack of early 90s hip hop and rap as well as a cameo from Mary Kate Olsen. Please note: she isn’t his love interest as it said in the SFF write up about the film.
Australian doco Playing in the Shadows – Ettinger-Epstein’s observational documentary shot over a year traces the adventures of an after-dark basketball team made up of inner-Sydney street kids. This was very well done and inspiring. At first it was shocking to see so many kids out on the street at night just down the road (Woolloomoolloo). It seemed as if they had no parental guidance or supervision (even for 5 year olds). Obviously, some of the people who live there have problems such as financial, health, mental health, addictions etc. The little girl talking about how her mother has died, her father is in and out of hospital and she has to look after herself (and her siblings in a run down house) was heartbreaking. It was inspiring to see the Midnight Basketball competition give these kids something to focus on. I admired the basketball coach and his dedication to the kids, even when they were being a-holes to him. It was really enlightening to hear the stories of these young kids and how hard their life is but also see how tough and/or vulnerable they are. At the end of this first screening of Playing in the Shadows, the director, producer and some of the cast (are they still called cast when it’s a doco?) came on stage and answered questions. It was great to find out that the ratbag foul mouthed boy who I thought was going to end up on the streets and in big trouble has got himself into a good Catholic high school and is doing well.
Straight after Playing in the Shadows we saw In Bruges – Ray and Ken are two mismatched hit men sent to lay low in the medieval Flemish town of Bruges after they botch an execution. Ray emotionally unravels, his conscience tortured by the memory of their recent crime and the pair become entangled in a series of bizarre and distracting local encounters. It had some very violent and gory parts but it was a very enjoyable film. It had a great script with interesting twists and nice cinematography of/in Bruges. We were sitting in the very front row of the State Theatre, the Film festival is probably the only time it’s not good to be in the front row there.
before I blog about all the things I’ve been up to in the past 2 weeks. The interweb can be SO distracting!
You don’t need to buy this book, I’ll tell you how:
Don’t drink alcohol
Don’t take drugs
Don’t eat crap food
Be born Asian.
Reunion by Sydney Old Skool on the Queen’s B’day Long Weekend was a great party – it was the best of the old rave days c.1991-96. It was clean, well organised (except for the queue at the beginning to get in) with great decorations, banners and props (balloon drop, glitter bomb). From what I can tell, the idea for this Reunion Rave came from the Facebook group Sydney Old Skool. There are some great photos that people have uploaded from “back in the day” as well as flyers, ticket stubs etc. It’s great how people can annotate the pictures with their own stories, memories and questions.
I enjoyed DJ sets by Hi-Shock, Nik Fish vs Jumping Jack and Sugar Ray the most. But it was great to see Sheen and even Vagas (vs Crisis?). My song of the night was Age of Love – it put a BIG smile on my face to hear this rave classic in a rave environment again (btw I don’t know about the subheading on youtube that says this is the earliest example of trance music, but anyhoo, if you don’t know the track…get out of my blog). It was quite odd to be at a big (sold out) event that wasn’t full of obnoxious, gurning and or scraggy “young” people too. It was all very civilised and I think a good time was had by all… old and older. I probably won’t go to the next one – I would like to end my “rave career” on a high – ha ha (actually I thought I was already retired). If you weren’t at Reunion or you weren’t a Sydney old skool raver the first time around, you might like to attend Back Again in October. See my Flickr pics of Reunion Rave here.
My old workmate designed this for Threadless, if he gets enough votes, it will go into t-shirt production! He does some really cool stuff and I’m glad he finally submitted something to Threadless. There must be heaps of peoples out there who say they are going to but never do 😉
And also Phil has done one too:
check out Solitare on Threadless.
YES! YES! YES!
SATC is one of my all-time favourite tv shows. Rob kindly booked tickets to see Sex & the City: The Movie at Bondi Junction on Saturday night. This was my first time seeing a film at the cinemas there and I was surprised to find out that the seats are already allocated when you book the tickets – how civilised! The movie was great, I laughed , I cried… I won’t tell you any more in case you haven’t seen it yet. Now I know how Trekkies feel when a new Star Trek movie comes out. I was trying to think of any other tv to big screen successes… X-Files perhaps???
We have seen 3 SFF films so far.
The Visitor – Walter Vale is a dull widower and professor at a Connecticut university whose life is transformed for the better after he discovers Syrian squatters Tarek and his girlfriend Zainab, living in his New York apartment. Actually, I think I like any film set in NYC. I found this film to be amusing, then later heartwarming but sad.
The Order of Myths – Margaret Brown turns to her hometown of Mobile, Alabama to document the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in American. First Established in 1703 (New Orleans started 15 years later), the city continues to host segregated annual parades, both on the same day. The dramatic centre or Brown’s film is structured around the historical connection between the 2007 royal families: white Queen Helen Meahar, is the descendent of the slave traders whose last-arriving ship contained the ancestors of the black queen, Stephanie Lucas. This was very interesting, I didn’t realise how segregated some cities in America still are. I enjoyed the coronation party scenes of the black king and queen – that looked like so much fun.
A Complete History of My Sexual Failures – Dumped by yet another girl after just three weeks, shabby (with no redeeming chic) and hapless thirtysomething Chris Waitt embarks on a mission to determine the ‘why’ behind his failed love life.
This was really well done and quite hilarious. There was one part where dave & I were crying because it was so funny. Unfortunately, he reminds me of someone I know (who is always late and dishevelled). Guess who, don’t sue 😉 The bonus was there was a Q & A with Chris Waitt at the end. It’s like watching the extra features on a DVD. He was quite personable answering dumb questions which people always tend to ask at these things, and we also had a surprise guest at the end – his current girlfriend.