Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Crutch Woman? Word Woman? Enthusiasm Woman?

Today in the cafe... A customer entered carrying crutches, her broken leg heavily bandaged. "I've been in rehab but I've had enough," she announced to the near empty, early morning cafe. "I had enough of rehab and nurses and the awful hospital food and the vile coffee, so I've escaped. They said I can't go because I'm a public liability, but to hell with them. I'm here and I'd love to have The Dreaded One's Breakfast and do you think you could make me a really nice cup of coffee? Thaaaanks, darlin'.
I nodded, wide-eyed and stunned, because she didn't stop talking. Where was it all coming from? Who was it aimed at? She got a couple of customers who were bemused or amused or just intrigued. One guy looked to be all three of these as he shared some time with her. The look on his face was priceless. He told her a story of his own injury and unbelievably, she stopped talking and listened. When he finished, she nodded and was off again, but she had really listened.
When I delivered her coffee she OMGéd several times very loudly because she was enjoying THE BEST COFFEE EVER! When her breakfast arrived (poached eggs with holandaise, wilted spinnach and mushrooms) I thought she was going to fall off her chair with the outrageous pleasure of it.
"Seriously... SERIOUSLY this is the best breakfast I have had in my ENTIRE life!"
She kept talking and talking and talking. I think she said more in that hour than I say on average in an entire month.
When she paid, she was so grateful. Everything was so beautiful. She took a business card to tell all her friends and she was going to come back and bother us again because she loves the place so much. She spotted my card with the link to my short story collection. She asked if I was the author. I nodded, rendered, as I was, practically speechless. It was her turn to be wide-eyed.
"Reeeeeally," she said in awe. "You're so clever. So talented and clever. I can't wait to read the stories. I can't wait to come back to this absolutely beautiful little cafe. It's been a real pleasure meeting you. You have a beautiful day. Have a really, really beautiful day."
Hands-down, my favourite customer of the day.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

An Esoteric Poem For Someone

An Esoteric Poem For Someone

Together, alone,
They said things,
And they said things,
And they said things,
Long into the night.

Jeff Goldblum,
Jeff Goldblum,
Fucking Jeff Goldblum.

No one else was there,
To hear these things they said,
No one else was there,
To witness the friendship that they shared.

Jeff Goldblum,
Jeff Goldblum,
Fucking Jeff Goldblum.

But everyone imagined things,
And so they said things,
And they thought things,
They believed all these things,
That were never said.

Jeff Goldblum,
Jeff Goldblum,
Fucking Jeff Goldblum.

But they made it through,
Not caring what others thought,
And they killed Jeff Goldblum,
Fucking Jeff Goldblum,
Jeff Goldblum,
They killed him until he was dead.

And their thing
Was a cool thing.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Pixel Review, Melbourne 2016


Reviewed by Lee Bemrose

My review request for Pixel went something like this:

“Hey Australian Stage – I'd really like to review this. It looks so trippy that I might not need to take any pre-show acid like I usually do.

Hahaha - joking. This show looks so trippy that it's SCREAMING for pre-show acid.

Joking again. My pre-show drug of choice is actually ecstasy.”

Although in reality my pre-show drug of choice is a glass of chardonnay, there were moments during the show that I felt like I had taken a delicious cocktail containing all of the above. There are many moments of wonderful trippiness.

First up though – the dance element of the show. Breakdance and body-popping are dance styles I've only ever been exposed to via short music clips. It's always seemed a novelty, a slightly freaky gimmick with a backdrop of jerky, thumping, shouty music.

But this is a full-blown, intricately choreographed dance performance showing these forms of dance in (for this writer) a whole new light. The dance in Pixel is real and pure dance; there is nothing gimicky about this performance. It's masculine, it's tricky, there is showmanship, there is strength and finesse... you've seen the head spins and the arm spins and the angular weirdness before, but not on this level. It's break-dancing, Jim, but not as we know it.

So what's different about it? Because the performance is longer than the music clips you might have been exposed to, you have the chance to appreciate the skill involved. Once you get used to it, you see it for having all the beauty of the best ballet.

You might see the word 'breakdance' and associate it with shitty 80s electro synth and drum pads, but here the music by Armand Amar is just dreamy. By turns orchestral, exciting, melancholic, whimsical... if there wasn't such magic going on up there onstage, you could easily close your eyes and drift of into the lushness of the music.

But the magic going on up there onstage... whoa.

Aside from the dance (I forgot to mention that there was the most amazing contortionist who at one stage did a duet with one of the break boys and it was one of the most wonderfully weird and playful modern dance sequences I have had the pleasure of seeing), there was the lighting trickery. This is where the trippiness comes into the thing. You will find yourself wondering what the hell is going on. Obviously it's all technology, but it may as well be magic. They somehow project light onto a... a sheet of magic and the performers interact with the light by... magic so that there's a kind of interactive dance between the dancers and the pixels of light. There are 3d effects that can only be described as... magic.

And it's all happening right there in real life in front of you.

I actually don't know how they achieved some of the visual effects that I saw. But I did love the marriage between technology (or magic, as I like to call it) and the raw and elegant physicality of the human body.

All performers had their moments to shine. Even the roller skate guy and the hoop guy, both of whom I also forgot to mention. Such masculine elegance.

Artistic director, choreographer and all round magician Mourad Merzouki and his collaborators have produced the kind of performance that makes you think, if shows like this are being made now, what are they going to be doing in a few years' time?