Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kitty Flanagan Review

Just saw Kitty Flanagan. God. So funny. So gorgeous. Just banged out a late night review of the show for Drum Media. The review went along the lines of oh my God she's so funny and gorgeous and I'm a dribbling idiot. The review is more about the night overall rather than her performance. Mostly her material was exactly the same as her show from about a year or so ago and the lack of atmosphere really made an impression.

But she is a very very funny human being.


The Gaelic Club is a weird venue. Something about the layout. Great times have been had there but I always suspect that this is because the party is better than the venue. Same thing happened on Tuesday night – early on the vibe felt soulless and empty, like a pub trivia night. Thank God the comedy was good.

A couple of suggestions: maybe try putting in some tables for punters to sit at and feel comfortable with getting up and down to get drinks. That school assembly arrangement was awful and it prevented people spending at the bar. Also, get rid of the muddy sounding chill music and retro rock for the overly long waiting time for the comedy to start. It felt like a wake.

The MC for the evening was Matt Dyktynski. He was relaxed and funny and had some good banter with the school assembly. He was good with accents and served up some genuinely funny moments.

First comedian up was a guy called Oliver (sorry – can’t read my scrawled version of his second name). He was Asian and played the Asian schtick and seemed pretty nervous. There were a few jokes at reality TV’s expense but my scribbles end his section with ‘pretty bad.’

Jason Chong didn’t look very Asian to me but check his last name. And he played up to the Asian thing too but in more confident style. He was very relaxed and at times very funny. He did a funny section with an Optimus Prime voice-changing helmet. Very silly and I want one of those helmets.

Then Kitty Flanagan came on and fuck me if I didn’t stop taking notes. Damnit. I got distracted by how funny she was. It wasn’t new material, but God it made the school assembly laugh. Seriously, we laughed till a little bit of wee came out.

The Gaelic Club has some good comedy acts coming up and they’re worth going to. The club just needs to work on the ambiance.

Comedy at The Gaelic Club happens on the last Tuesday of every month.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ben Ely From Regurgitator

In the press release the painting was incorrectly called, simply, Toaster Head Boy. Apparently the correct title is Toaster Head Boy Dreams To Become A Destroyer Robot. I think it should be called Toaster Head Boy Zaps An Evil Robot In The Nuts. I don't have an image of the painting in question, so you'll have to go to the exhibition and check it out for yourself. Be quick though. It ends today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

October Grumpy Column

I read this story this morning and had lots of thoughts about it. My Grumpy column was due today so I thought I'd do a piece on it and incorporate my loathing of this advertising gem. Be warned if you haven't already seen the ad because it's pretty disgusting. One of the worst ad campaigns ever. Basically I'd say don't hit the link, but if you want to know what I'm on about, check it out.


Did you hear the one about the gun lobbyist, the lesbians and the bumper sticker? You know the one. True story. A Queensland guy had a sticker on his car that read “Gay Rights? The only rights gays have is the right to die.” A lesbian saw the sticker and has been awarded five grand because she was offended by it. One of her lesbian friends was also awarded five grand because she was also offended by the sticker in spite of not having actually read the sticker. She’d just been told about it. It’s comedy gold, really. The gun guy also copped a few grand in fines and that’s about the only bit I agree was right about the story. It is an offensive message. But then, have you ever seen a bumper sticker that isn’t offensive? I think everyone who has any kind of bumper sticker on their car should be fined for crimes against taste. Favourite one I saw recently was “Pig hunters stick it in deep.” Awesome. You can just imagine what kind of person drives that car. Relax, they’d say, it’s just a bit of a joke. Yeah well, a bit of a joke should be a bit funny.

In fact if I wasn’t so lazy, this would be my next get rich scheme: being offended. There are loads of things that offend me. Seen that offensive anti-smoking ad featuring the Leonard Cohen track Everybody Knows? Check it out on Youtube if you haven’t seen it. Totally offensive. How about you over-paid advertising monkeys target your audience a little better? I don’t smoke and yet I have clogged arteries, oozing tubes, manky feet, gangrene legs and cancerous teeth flashed across my TV screen with no prior warning whatsoever. All to an oh-so-clever soundtrack. I am deeply offended. I am offended by the images, by the fact that some faux genius probably thinks he’s created a piece of art and by the fact that governments pay for this kind of pornography while collecting taxes from the sale of cigarettes. If the offended lesbians scored five grand for one bumper sticker I reckon I must be owed at least 20 thousand.

In fact, how silly do we get about this? There’s this guy I work with who has that whistle thing through his nose hairs when he breathes, and I find that pretty gross. Ka-ching. Why wasn’t I onto this earlier? Getting rich couldn’t be easier.

4am epiphany

4am epiphanies. Don't you love them?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cool People & The Terminator Bottle Of Bubbles

Almost three years ago a friend gave The Dreaded One and me a bottle of champagne for our birthdays (we're three days apart). We took the bottle to a doof but left it behind when we went to plant some trees.

The Dreaded One posted a query on a forum asking if anyone happened to pick the bottle up. Someone we knew in a distant way said that they found the bottle and they would keep it until next time they saw us.

As is the case with doof culture, you often don't see people for ages because often we only really get together for outdoor parties, and you just never know which party people will turn up to.

Recently we heard that these people lost everything they owned in a bad house fire. They're both sound and audio people and they lost a lot of electrical gear, all their furniture and all of their clothing. There is talk of having a fund raising party for them.

After I saw Bill Bailey on Saturday night and The Dreaded One came home after work we decided on a whim to go to a CD launch party by the guys who hold the tree planting parties. The couple who lost everything in the house fire were there and they laughed as they told us that our bottle of wine survived the fire. They still have it, as battered as it is, and we will get around to having it. We have to share it with them, as well as a back up bottle in case the heat affected this one.

Sometimes people are just very cool.

Also, we own decks. DJs Grumpy & Stompy - the fun begins.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bill Bailey/Tinselworm Interview for Drum Media

Bugger. The bottom image was meant to be at the top and the top one at the bottom. My brain is noodle.

Anyway, this is my piece on Bill Bailey, finally out manny manny weeks after doing the interview. I really tried to avoid all the usual stuff and thought I had a couple of good quotes, but he did the Lisa Simpson bit on Denton verbatim. I know it's how these people have to do things but it was still disappointing.

Chatting to Manny was not. Bill is, I'm pretty sure, a very good man. It was a pleasure and fun and I wish I could have written more. Still, all good. It's the cover story for Drum's arts section in Sydney as well as Perth, so far. I think they'll also be using it in Melbourne and Brisbane.

I think I'm seeing his show next week, just a couple of nights after seeing Meow Meow's Vamp. Am I looking forward to next week? I think so. Much laughs to be had.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vamp with Meow Meow & The Modern International Review

Here are a couple of pieces out in the current issue of Drum. Click on the image to make big, obviously.

Naturally the Meow Meow piece could have been longer but quarter page was all I was allowed. I'll see if I can transcribe the whole interview but I know what I'm like.

The Modern International was a really good play, seen in less than ideal circumstances. My plus one was really late and we got really shitty seats. Nevertheless, the play chewed up its running time of around two and a half hours with ease. It's good stuff.

I was less impressed with a tiny bit of sub-editing in the review. I'm usually not overjoyed but accepting with sentences appearing that I would never have written, or words are used that I would never have used, but there is an exclamation mark in this review! And I never use the damn things! Maybe when I'm taking the piss, but never in general writing! Because they are silly! Why is it there? What does it do besides make the sentence sound like it was written by a 10 year old? I mean, OMG!

Anyway, I asked the editor to please not ever put exclamation marks in my stuff if I haven't and she has agreed. I just hate the damned things.

My Bill Bailey story is out in the same issue. it's the arts section cover story and I think it's okay. I'll post it later.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Meow Meow's Vamp

Chatted to Meow Meow yesterday. She is divine, as ever. Piece comes out in Tuesday's Drum Media. I should probably transcribe the whole conversation here though. She was lovely. Really. Lovely. Uberly lovely.

What really took me away was her real love of some of the great vamps through time. We talked about Sarah Bernhardt, Ishtar, Salome, Anita Berber, and Marchesa Luisa Casati, among others. I also told her about my fascination with Dora Maar. These are all pretty amazing women. Awesome women, really.

Tonight, my head filled with nouveau swirls and dreams of eternal elegance and style that is... you know, just stylish, I made the mistake of walking through Darlinghurst. Jarring headfuck of reality. There is no elegance in Darlinghurst. There is no style. My head-peace crashed into the gutter. I was a bit disturbed.

As funny as I think Meow Meow is, I'm going along to see her for her love of relics as much as anything else. She's hilarious, but she's also singing the songs of some of the forgotten great ones.

And that is a cool thing.

Photo by Karl Giant.
Vamp plays at The Studio, Sydney Opera House 24 September – 5 October.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Earthdance 2008

Earthdance happens this weekend. I am not going to the Sydney party because I'm working. If it was being held on the correct day, however, I would be able to go. But the Sydney organisors in their wisdom have moved the party a day forward.

This doco is worth watching if you want to know what Earthdance is really about. In the opening minutes several people mention that at the heart of the thing is the simultaneous pause for a prayer for peace. The point is that at hundreds of locations around the world, hundreds of thousands of party-goers stop playing and pray for peace while the same track is played.

It's a bit of hippie silliness, perhaps, but it's kind of cool too. Certainly doesn't hurt anything. Sydney has always had a bit of a problem with the prayer bit because GMT midnight is about 9am here. You turn up, you see a handful of bleary eye punters who've just had breakfast.

Still, to this year move the party to an entirely different day... missing the point completely.

Last couple of years the party has been a bit of a mess. The promoters talk only of making the party bigger and bigger each year. Punters treat it like Field Day or any number of other dance festivals, and that's more or less okay. Get wrecked by all means, but drop some change in the bucket and I guess it does some good... after costs have been deducted for putting the party on.

I'd like to be at Waveform. It looks good and it's at least keeping the spirit of the thing alive. Sydney is just missing the point.

Monday, September 08, 2008

pool (no water) Review

Review more or less as it will appear In Drum tomorrow. I think there were moments in the play when it got so dark, when the nastiest and pettiest of emotions were portrayed, that I thought something like, "Phwoar!"

A shallower bunch you've never met... unless you've hung out in an arty scene for a bit, in which case you've probably met them all. And yet, for all their shallowness there was some good in them all. Kind of. Imperfect humans, you are.

If you're in Sydney, definitely check this one out. It was a pretty good Sunday matinee audience yesterday, which probably says more than my little 300 (ish) word review. 300 words to review a play? What is that? Why not go all the way and ask for reviews in haiku form?

pool (no water)

If you like your comedy dark, scathing and brutally funny, you’ll probably like Square The Circle’s production of pool (no water).

The story follows an artistic group (The Group) and the bonds that keep them together. One’s career has taken off where the others’ flounder, and spiteful jealousy and bitterness is revealed. When the highly successful former member of The Group comes a cropper, the others make the opportunistic decision to photograph her unconscious and broken body though her prolonged healing process. They are artists, and as such feel justified in adjusting broken and bruised limbs to better capture the most flattering light, if that is what is required for a more artistic shot. The friend eventually awakens and realises what they have been doing, and is, to the surprise and disappointment of them all, grateful. She sees the power of the images and the potential for a great exhibition, once again taking centre stage. The Group feels that their creation is being taken away, and their facades unravel. In a haze of drugs, action is taken.

British playwright Mark Ravenhill appears to have a very cynical view of those in contemporary art scene. Here they are portrayed as a venomous, opportunistic bunch who inwardly drool at the prospect of success even though they claim it is irrelevant to their work. And scratch the surface of their bravado and what do you find? The same - often pathetic - insecurities that plague us all. So by and large, I reckon Mr Ravenhill nails it.

Not sure the ‘cunt’ diatribe nailed it so well here. Seemed too PC and would have felt stronger and more confronting if delivered by one of the male characters.

Still, this is a compact play with loads to say about the nature of ambition and friendship. All aspects of staging are pared back – minimal lighting, fluro and sterile like hospital lighting, effective but minimal sound design – so that this production is really about four solid performers (Angela Bauer, Guy Edmonds, Lisa Griffiths, and Sam Haft) delivering a gritty and sometimes disturbingly funny script.

Until 20 September at Darlinghurst Theatre
Photo by Alex Craig


Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Jokey Doctor

Been a bit unwell lately but in keeping with my sub-header about sometimes having to squint a little to see the funny stuff, here's this...

The doctor pokes about, takes my blood pressure and heart rate and deems them both in good shape. She pokes about a bit more and a bit more forcefully and seems surprised there is no abdominal pain. I put my shirt back on and she leads me through to the room where I am to give some blood for a blood test. I take a seat and the blood-taking guy comes in while the other doc goes about her business, just in the background.

I sink in my chair because I have encountered this guy once before, long ago. He is The Jokey Doc, the kind of guy who believes that humour is the key to making us all feel relaxed and able to cope with what must be a strange and foreign world to us civilians. As such, one wall is festooned with jokey cartoons related to medical health, jokey greeting cards and jokey famous quotes.

"Feeling unwell, are we?" The Jokey Doc asks, feigning concern and unhappiness.

"Not at all," I don't reply. "Every now and then I just feel like coming along to places like this to piss into tiny little jars and let fuckwits like you shove needles into my arms."

From the background, the other doctor calls out to tell me that I am very dry. I would like to think she is talking about my sense of humour, but no, she has matched a colour chart to my urine sample. "Very dry," she chastises.

"Sorry," I tell her. "I thought I was drinking enough water. I'll try to drink more."

"Hmm," The Jokey Doctor tells me. "We lose a lot more water as well as minerals and salts than we think. As well as water there's also Powerade, Lucozade, Gatorade... In fact," (A comical, circular wave of the hands to indicate abundance), "We want you to get lots of 'ades'!"

Pause for comic affect. Thumb and forefinger to the chin as he contemplates his little double entendre.

"Which I suppose," he goes exhaustingly on, "is not really the kind of thing you want to hear in a medical centre."

Boom. Fucking. Tish. Clearly he has done that one a thousand times and is more pleased with how much he has refined it each time and how wonderfully fresh he makes it sound each time.

Fucker busies himself with tubes and needles for about two seconds before stopping and gazing whimsically at a distant memory. "You know - speaking of specimen jars reminds me of the time that I - as a pink-faced intern - handed my first specimen jar to one of many returned war vets. Of course, they didn't make specimen jars the same back then. They were much smaller. Unlike the returned vets... big burly men, they were..."

Fucking hell, Uncle Monty - just give me the fucking syringe and I'll do it myself.

His anecdote basically amounted to the war vet being bemused by the diminutive size of the jar in comparison to the gigantic size of his shits and did the intern have any idea of how big the war vets shits were and everyone was watching and there were a lot of war vets who did big poos that he had to hand out specimen jars to and it was going to be a long day.

"Listen, fucker," I almost say at the end of this delightful story. "If you don't put that needle in my arm very shortly I will put it right into your eye with astonishing frequency."

When he finally gets started, jokey Doc tells me that his rollicking number twos specimen jar story came to mind because he saw that the other doctor was giving me a number twos specimen jar, which confuses me because I hadn't thought she was.

Still, at reception sorting out the paperwork, I decide to ask because maybe she was giving me a take-home one to do the... erm... procedure in the comfort of my own home, which was thoughtful.

"So," I say into the eerie silence of the packed waiting room. "Is that it then?"

"Yes. All done."

"Ah," I reply trying to whisper but trying to not sound like I'm whispering. Either way, in this silence it sounds like I'm shouting. "Because the doctor said something about a (specimen jar)."

"Really? To take home? Didn't say anything to me about a specimen jar. Still, if you want a specimen jar I can give you a specim-"

"Can we please stop saying specimen jar so much please. And look no. I don't want one, it's just that The Jokey Doctor - "

"It's no trouble, really."

As the receptionist turns to go and find a take-home specimen jar, I make my quick exit and flee to the comfort and safety of my couch and doona.