Moments of Melancholy Madness in Melbourne Pt 1

Zach Galifianakis, Butterbean and me

I awoke abruptly as the ground beneath shook me violently out of my slumber. What kind of waking hell was this? The clouded sense of disorientation swarmed around me like bees to honey. As my vision restored back to normality, I was confronted by the notion that I was airborne. What’s more I was sandwiched between a guy who looked remarkably like Zach Galafinikis and another bloke who had all the hallmarks of ex-boxer, Butterbean, who actually kept himself to himself and perhaps only uttered a few words throughout the entire flight. I wish that more could be said of Zach, who noticing my transformation back to the land of the living, had sprung an attempt at conversation upon me. I wasn’t in the mood for polite talk and tried to bury myself into the news that was being displayed on the in-flight entertainment. There was some news about an American McDonalds worker, who claimed she owned a winning lottery ticket.  The attempt would be in vain however, as I lacked the necessary ear phones to block Zach out of my inner sphere. He sensed my new found interest in the news bulletin and seized his chance to enter by remarking on the cartoon graphics that accompanied said news piece. “How much money do they spend on these ridiculous cartoons?” You could see that he was keen for me to accompany him on his tirade. “Waste of money, if you ask me”. I forced a polite chuckle and then feigned sleep once more…. Melbourne couldn’t come soon enough.

People had told me that I would love Melbourne. I’m not sure what that meant or why they felt that I in particular would feel affiliated to the city, but my expectations should have been high. However, I felt that it was important to remain neutral and not judge immediately. Once we had checked into the apartment, my wife and I decided to float our way through the city and settle wherever the wind may take us. Evidently, this turned out to be along the Southbank. A parade of cars were being showcased along the walkway. The sun was shining and we found ourselves nestled on the grass and soaking everything in. Breathing in the city that encompassed us. My initial thoughts of the place hadn’t truly sunk in yet. I could feel something that I couldn’t quite tap into. Something that hung on the precipice, waiting on the sidelines to enter into our world. Right now, I felt lethargic. Sleep was once more taking a hold of me. Randomly, I saw a Roman soldier cross my field of vision and make his way towards the Docklands. Strange, I thought, but my mind had become clouded again. Melbourne’s effects were sending me into a dreamlike state. It was taking hold of me and forcing me into a sense of safety and security and I for one was willing to allow it. My inhibitions were removed and I would succumb underneath the shade of the strange shaped trees, that bent over to protect my wife and I.

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Words of the Oppressed

Walt Whitman photo

I have a great friend to thank for introducing me to the works of Walt Whitman. I was aware of him growing up, but was not to familiarise myself until I reached University. I was looking for an audition piece that not only stood out but also resinated and could be seen as a contemporary piece of literature. When I asked my friend to aid me, a copy of Walt Whitman’s work was passed into my palm and I was told to refer my readings to a certain poem entitled, As I Lay With My Head In Your Lap Camerado.

After reading this poem, I found Whitman’s words so captivating and the message,  particularly struck a chord. As noted in my earlier posts, I have a curious leaning to the voice of the Oppressed within the arts and this poem sung true to these leanings. His words are filled with the struggles and Oppressions that he experiences with his sexuality and how he has come to terms that the Oppressors will vilify him, but his strength and declaration will push him through regardless.

I leave you with his words, with which I have hopefully provided with adequate force and deliverance without casting any shadow on its beauty.

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From Proposals to Advertising the Living Dead.

Death of cinema d'essai

So, despite Greenaway’s declaration that cinema is dead, there still seems to be a voice within this dying art form. Around 9 or so months ago, a video hit the web, which showed a guy who had made his own movie trailer in order to propose to his girlfriend. In the video, we see the trailer and the Live footage of the girlfriends’ reaction as it becomes evident that the person proposing was her boyfriend. All a bit niche maybe, but it certainly hit my romantic side and made me feel that that was a pretty cool way to propose.

Now, the point that this gets interesting for me, is how an american TV company must have latched onto this concept and run with it to promote their latest High Profile Show. Check the video below.

I kinda like this way, this trailer is aimed at an audience that are clearly there for a romantic movie, and then twist it with the zombie concept. A great way to possibly reach a market that may not initially have batted an eyelid at the thought of watching The Walking Dead, but hey, it certainly made them sit up and pay attention. You never know, it could potentially have snagged a new viewing base and if so, a new form of marketing may have just reawakened.

So Greenaway, is Cinema truly dead?

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More Opinions on the Oppressed

Milk Crate Theatre Rehearsals

Through my journey of discovering the arts in Australia and immersing myself into the slipstream of expression using dramatic form, I was elated to discover a theatre company that tapped into my veins and connected on a subject matter that I find touches my soul through it’s sheer humanitarianism.

The Milk Crate Theatre are a practicing Sydney theatre based company that collaborate with people, who have either been homeless and or experienced social marginalisation. Their goal is “to create theatre that creates change”.

They truly are an inspirational troupe and I am a big fan of what they are achieving and have no qualms in promoting their work here. For me theatre has the potential to unlock many doors and is open to comment on so many of society’s core values. I would like to see how theatre can expand with the use of the multimedia environment and capitalise on the rise of social media to start promoting some core messages across the globe.

Here is a part 1 of a video uploaded on You Tube that gives an account from some of its performers.


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Opinions on the Oppressed

The Theatre of the Oppressed

Theatre of the Oppressed Workshop

I have already mentioned in my ravings of the Fear and Loathing in Bris Vegas writings of how idols have affected me or inspired me throughout my life thus far, the earlier part of which had heavy leanings in the theatre department. My life lived and breathed drama and I would do anything to immerse myself in this world. It is little wonder then, that I too a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies to pursue my interests and along this journey, I was introduced to someone I now consider to fit the description of Idol, at least in my eyes and indeed to others that have studied his craft.

The person in question, is Augusto Boal, a Brazilian theatre practitioner who developed the Theatre of the Oppressed. By using theatre as a means to deliver knowledge and social concepts and transform this, by allowing the audience a voice, whereby they can interact with the performance and even change the direction that the narrative is taking. In doing so, “the people” are given a voice and can look at variable ways to impact or change things within society for the good.

Boal’s work has been recognised in the theatre industry globally and in 2008 was a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee in recognition of his contributions to society. I’ll leave this post from Democracy Now, which gives a descriptive background in an interesting Obituary, dedicated to his practice, including an interview in which Boal lends his views.

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Greenaway’s Gaze

Peter Greenaway trained as a painter for 4 years before turning his attention to film-making and it is with this earlier training that his artistic touch can be seen heavily in all the movies he has directed thus far. His eye for detail is second to none and has been showcased with critically acclaimed movies such as, The Draughtman’s Contract, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover and Drowning By Numbers to name a few.

Peter Greenaway

More recently, his career has seen Greenaway give multi-media art performances where he does live video-jockeying, offering up clips of film and slideshow images with lights and music. Examples of these can be seen in Nightwatching and J’Accusse.

The Tulse Luper Suitcase VJ performance offered up a new form of ‘LIVE Cinema and Leonardo’s Last Supper, saw Greenaway use light manipulation to cast the famous painting in a new and enlightening way.

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Fear and Loathing in Bris Vegas Pt 2

brisbane dawn

A cloudy haze of disorientation swept over me like a vulture circling it’s prey. I fought through the pain that was now attacking every ounce of my somewhat inactive mind in order to focus and gather some indication of my surroundings. I could still taste the remnants of last night upon my breath and it was foul and deadly. A poisonous vice that had a firm grip around my throat.

A short way up the road I could see a couple of police cars outside a house and choppers flying overhead. Something big had definitely gone down and I didn’t want a part of it. I hauled myself to my feet and began to walk the streets, searching for somewhere to camp myself and get some serious breakfast happening. My mouth was salivating at the prospect of bacon and hash browns.

As I walked, flashbacks from last night came spinning to the fore. Mainly it centered around a drunken brawl that took place outside my dorm. Without any signs of it letting down, I took it upon myself to exit the vicinity and find an alternate place of rest. This would explain why I ended up sleeping on a bench in some random park in the outer suburbs of the CBD.

I eventually wound up in a semi-decent cafe towards the city centre and once I had a strong coffee in hand, the buzzing in my head started to calm and dissipate, much to my relief. With a clear head I could plan my mode of attack for the day. My game plan had gone slightly awry and I needed to gravitate towards the main focus for being in Brisbane in the first place, to immerse myself in the arts and get some kind of experience that would pour fire onto the senses. Would anything be able to reach the level of Greenaway’s efforts from the previous night?

As the day poured on, little was left to re-ignite the passion that lay within. There were glimpses of promise, with folklore fairy tales involving puppets that vented towards the macabre. This did stir the senses a little, but not enough to enflame. There was also a powerful performance by a South African male, who spoke about his perspective of apartheid and his struggles with his own sexuality during this period. This had struck a chord with my own interest in Oppression, particular when projected through the voice of theatre.

All of these things gently stirred the emotions, but I as yet had not encountered anything that triggered deep within my soul. As the night wore on, my hopes were diminishing. That was until I stumbled into the Spiegeltent and bore witness to a melting pot of various performers and they had me hooked.

I have to admit, the idea of attending a cabaret performance left me feeling a little uncomfortable, but that was to do with the lack of confidence I had within my own skin. I knew that if I were to confront my demon, I would need to ride the beast and see this thing through, despite any immediate doubts I may have had. I am so glad that I was able to push through and combat this fear.

The delectable cast included, Paul Capsis, a man dubbed as the King of Cabaret performers, who was able to wield Janis Joplin to amazing effect. Close your eyes and she could be in the room with you.

Alongside him were, Lady Carol of the Moon and Le Gateaux Chocolat, who both provided captivating performances. The artist who captured me the most though, was the MC for the evening, Martin Martini. His music has been described as Mongrel, with his lyrics oozing anger and perversity, so already I began to click with his presence on stage.

Martin Martini

I felt myself being drawn into his world. I was being lured into his vortex. There was no getting out. The only choice was to grip tight and enjoy the ride.

By the end of the performance, I felt violated to no end and I didn’t want this curious pleasure to stop. But end it must. Once more I found myself trying to get closer to the curator of the emotions that I was now experiencing. Martini was selling some of his music at the end of the show and so I approached to lay my hands on some of his material. I wanted so much to ask him how he was able to harness the weird within and deliver his voice with so much energy and creativity. How was he able to project his soul with so much force and let his passion thrash itself with so much voracity? My nerves failed me however and I sheepishly collected the music and headed out the way I came in. There was a marked difference though. I poured back out onto the Brisbane streets once again, fueled with ambition and desire.

This new sense of wonderment would propel me forward with enough zest for my journey home. The journey itself was a marked improvement on the one I had to get me to Brisbane. Everything seemed calm and peaceful. There were no devil snakes thrashing around on the hood of my car and the Gods seemed appeased. I was at a point of self-discovery. A new chapter had begun. My final destination wasn’t necessarily clear, but it did feel good. Things were starting to change and I was starting to see enough positivity in the creative industry that stirred the blood and shook the soul into reawakening.

The journey would continue and the ride would be a strange and intoxicating blend of the weird and wonderful. A world where I was fully prepared to immerse myself into and absorb every last detail.

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