Monday, June 28, 2010

Zoe Keating Plays Escape Artist

Not just for cello lovers, but anyone also interested in what can be done with looping software. Pretty amazing stuff.

I love love love this piece of music. I saw Zoe Keating a couple of years ago in a show at the Sydney Opera House. It was kind of a cabaret/burlesque night MC'd, I think, by Meow Meow and Amanda Palmer. From memory, if Amanda Palmer wasn't very pissed she was doing a damn good job of faking it. Which is fine because she was hilarious and could belt out a tune regardless.

But Zoe Keating stole the show for me. Play this clip through your big speakers and you'll get where I'm coming from. If you ever have the chance of seeing Zoe Keating live, just do it. DO IT.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

For Sale

Our home. We are selling our home and moving to another city. So many happy memories here. Kind of can't believe we're going through with this but we are. Emotional ties to this place, but no doubt we'll start again and find ourselves in another beautiful home, in a city not too far away from our wonderful Sydney friends.

In the meantime, plans are being made for big adventures.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Recent Grumpy Columns in Tsunami

The finished products of a couple of recent posts which became Grumpy columns. I'm including them for my own records really. I should probably just wait and post the scan of the magazine column but I am Instantgratification Man.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Grumpy in June

Okay, so this is a tweaked version of the previous post. I had totally forgotten that my Grumpy column was due today until the editor emailed a reminder at lunchtime. The problem is I am so often in such a down mood early in the week that it can be really difficult to even imagine being able to write something silly... and this week so far has been a bit of a shocker. Still, like the sub-header on this blog says, there is funny shit everywhere, sometimes you just have to squint a little to see it. Squinty days, right now, but the silly is still about.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Mid-Week Frivolity

We're both on our computers. I think we are going to Cairns for the Winter Solstice party. We're looking up stuff... flights, campervans etc.

Me: So is it tomorrow night or Wednesday night you get home late?"

Her (distracted): "Hmm?"

Me: "Is it tomorrow night or Wednesday night you get home late?"

Her (distracted by computery stuff): "Aaaarrrmmm... Wednesday?"

Me: "Because I'm just trying to book the hookers in."

Her (still totally focused on the computer): "Mmm? Okay."

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Glow, Blacklight Theatre With Invisible Ninjas

Short piece on a play I'm seeing this Saturday night. Feels like old times, being at the Opera House three times in a week. Used to be down there so often chefing and reviewing that I called it the Opera Home... can't say I miss those days. Kinda happy they happened, but happy they're over too. It's because I'm not chefing there anymore that I can see so much theatre again.

Anyway, this looks like a lot of fun. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Akram Khan's Gnosis Review

Gnosis by Akram Khan

Akram Khan is one of those performers you keep hearing about until you give in a go to see what all the fuss is about. The cavernous Opera Theatre appeared to be almost full on the second night of this two night season. A woman sitting next to me was telling her friends about the show with a great deal of enthusiasm; she had attended the previous night as well.

The stage was bare for this performance with Akram taking centre stage and being flanked by his musicians, all tastefully dressed and sitting bare-foot on the floor. The instruments included a cello, tabla drums, taiko drums and a sarod (which sounded like a sitar). There were vocals throughout and the sound of Akram's pants, lined as they were with rows of tiny bells that jangled rhythmically as his feet tapped and stomped.

The music was exotic and as polished as you'd expect from the best hand-picked musos from around the world. Unfortunately if you were seated even a little off to one side at least one if not two players were obscured from view. I could not see Yoshie Sunahata on the taiko drums at all, which was frustrating, especially as the dancer had really talked her drumming skills up.

The first part of the performance involved traditional dance, a bit of a slightly competitive jam session between the dancer and the tabla player, and while there was no denying Akram's skill and grace, without any clear narrative I did have moments of feeling as though it was occasionally a little repetitive. Occasionally, too, the moves veered into comical aspects of interpretive dance. Having the undisciplined mind that I do, started to amuse myself by guessing what it was that he was doing... is he introducing the moon to the Earth? This is the moon, this is the Earth, you two should get to know each other. Now he's picking fruit and giving it to the people, but he's taking the fruit back from the people and running away with the people chasing him and shouting you can't give us the fruit and then take it away again! It's just not fair! Come back here with our fruit!

He also took time out to simply chat with the audience. He is very well-spoken, appears quite humble and has a good sense of humour, even if the quite sweet story about the cab driver and his father (by coincidence a long-lost boyhood friend of the cab driver) didn't ring true somehow. Both plus 1 and I speculated on how this story could have been true; neither of us came up with a satisfying explanation.

The second act was Akram's take on the story of the wife of a blind king who wears a blindfold for her entire life to share her husband's experience. This section had a much more contemporary feel to it, And I finally got to see the Japanese taiko player as she joined the main star in what was quite a stunning dance routine. The opening scene as the two of them mirrored each others sweeping movements as they mimed beating giant taiko drums was hypnotically gorgeous. This last act was the highlight for me and went down a treat with the crowd, many of whom thought the show worthy of a standing ovation during the lengthy and rapturous round of applause at the end.

Having seen Akram Khan for the first time, I kind of regret having missed him when he was here last time performing with French actress Juliette Binoche. I'll have to settle for looking forward to his next visit.

Oh - I really wanted to use the line, so you think Akram Khan dance somewhere in the review, but that would have been silly.

Lee Bemrose. Photo by Richard Haughton