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St Jerome’s Laneway Festival is a day filled with fun tunes and cool people. And now there is a whole new element — art! Curated by DWDC designs, Laneway now sees a showcase of Brisbane artists, designers, VJs,  signwriters, comic book artists, poets, sculptors, makers & stilt walkers taking over the laneway of Alexandria St at this year’s festival.

Q: Theme Team 13, what are you doing for Laneway?
Curating the themes for site, VIP and green rooms at Laneway.

Q: How did this all come about?
DWDC Designs were asked to theme the Brisbane Laneway site and we jumped at the opportunity to work with a bunch of talented friends and associates to vibe the Ekka site. We have created interactive Green Room/ VIP for years for different festivals including Sounds of Spring, Livid and Big Day Out.
Q: How are you planning to execute the art/ theme?
Collaborating with artists, designers and makers  to create a street party with great music, art, atmosphere and stilt walkers. This is the year of the big balloon, Brisbane Comics, upcycled furniture with a stencilled twist, fresh flowers and text.

Q: Who is involved?
The theme team are Brisbane artists, designers, VJs, signwriters, comic book artists, poets, sculptors, makers and stilt walkers taking over the laneway of Alexandria St. Rob Corless, Barek and Frank + Mimi are some of the featured artists and will have  a range of their work scaled over the site.

Q: What do art and music mean to you?
Culture. It is an exciting time to be living in the zeitgeist of the Brisbane music and art scene. There is a history of healthy collaborations that saw festivals like Livid begin the movement that keeps us all entertained and employed.  

Q: Have you done anything similar before?
Our business has a broad range focussing on Architecture, Art, Education & Permaculture — so every job takes us in different directions. We teach, design, make and install and work with all ages. Recently we have worked with Education Queensland and State Library on living walls, edible sculptures and interactive food systems.

Q: What do you want people to say when they see what you’ve created?
I would like people to walk away having experienced a moment of wonderment. If they are lucky, they will have keepsakes from free art Friday, been switched onto Brisbane comics/ streetart, or never look at a balloon in the same way again.  

Q: What are your skills and how are you utilising them at Laneway?
Nico is an architect and designer, so is great with spaces and is a killer installer. Ky has an eye for fine craftsmanship and loves to create theme teams to share resources, skills and ideas with an ethical overview. After Laneway, the furniture gets recycled to local primary schools, or to not-for-profit organisations that need resources.

Q: If you could collaborate and make art with any musician — who would it be and why?
Pussy Riot who were arrested on charges of hooliganism and have two of their members currently living in prison camps in Russia. Why? Because we are so lucky to  live in a time and place to be able to think and express what we believe.

For more information on the theme team. or

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 15:36

Big Day Out Fashions 2013

Let's get this straight – it was HOT. Like really, really, ridiculously hot. But that is no excuse for some of the “fashion” seen on people at this BDO.

Fashion is a form of self-expression, a way of having fun, of changing your mood and also usually includes some practical elements (protection from cold/ sun/ rain etc). However it appears that most people followed the mass memo about the BDO uniform.

Denim shorts? Check. Swimwear worn as outerwear? Check. Oversized sunglasses? Check. Fake tan? Check, check and check!

But among the masses, there were some brave individuals, some people going their own way who were walking to the beat of their own fashion drum. And thank god for them as people-watching is a sport played best at music festivals. Spotted were a few retro-inspired frocks, a playful romper or two, flared jeans with a crop top (best left for Kate Hudson but can be rocked out by any regular person who has never grown hips) and even a summer shorts suit.

There were fewer hats than expected and more glitter (but surely it would be sweated off in seconds?). The boys presented a less united front with a diversity of looks ranging from the usual suspects (you know who I'm talking about) to the more dapper.

There were bow ties, skinny ties, oversized tees, crop tops, high tops, caps, tracks and even a three-piece suit (heat stroke anyone?). Although props should be given for his commitment to looking good. By the end, everyone looked a vague shade of orange and were kind of shiny (from the sweat and glitter no doubt).

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Wednesday, 16 January 2013 16:31

Paranorman: Film Review

Leslie Mann, Anna Kendrick, John Goodman, Casey Affleck. Directed by Chris Butler, Sam Fell.

‘ParaNorman’ is the next production from the company that brought us the groundbreaking, Academy Award-nominated film ‘Coraline’, so expectations for the film were high. The 3D stop-motion comedy thriller is all about one small boy who can speak to the dead and must try to save his small town from a centuries-old curse. Norman Babcock (voiced by Kodi Smith-McPhee) is an appealing outcast, a slightly weird outsider who can see dead people and prefers the company of his grandmother’s ghost to any of the living inhabitants he knows. One day a distant relative gives Norman the task of lifting a curse, placating the witch and avoiding a Zombie apocalypse. Sounds like a daunting task, but endearing oddball Norman is stronger and tougher than he looks. Plus he has a trusty offsider. This film succeeds by marrying together horror and comedy and educating the audience about bullying and misunderstanding at the same time. Featuring well known actors Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick and John Goodman, the film’s greatest achievement is that it manages to be funny, scary and entertaining all at the same time.

4 stars

‘ParaNorman’ is in cinemas now.
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 16:07

Les Miserables: Film Review

Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe. Directed by Tom Hooper.

Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper ('The King's Speech') took on the massive challenge of converting one of the most beloved musicals of all time onto the silver screen. And for the most part, he succeeds. Based on Victor Hugo's 1862 novel of the same name, 'Les Miserables' is a sprawling tale filled with rebellion, violence, love, injustice, revolution, hope and redemption.  Deciding to use actors rather than professional singers, (a move that dismayed many) Hooper employs live voice recording rather than adding the singing tracks in post production. A bold choice, but one that adds dimension to the film and allowed the actors to become immersed in their roles. The cast, led by Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe, were all visually perfect for their characters but some vocals were a little hit and miss. Jackman carried the film, playing lead character Jean Valjean, and was mesmerising on screen. Hathaway, in the role of Fantine, was exceptional — raw emotion coupled with operatic singing — and in the film for not nearly long enough. The rest of the cast — Crowe, Amanda Segfried, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter — were all a little forgettable.

Overall, a film that delivered occasional punches of emotion, an unforgettable song or two, a new appreciation of all things Hugh and empathy for the people struggling with their place in life.   

3.5 stars

'Les Miserables' is in cinemas now.

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 16:00

South Pacific: Musical Theatre In Preview

It is regarded as one of greatest musicals to ever play on Broadway, winning a slew of awards since its debut in 1949. Now after garnering seven Tony Awards and playing sell-out seasons all over the globe, the Lincoln Center Theatre's stunning production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's 'South Pacific' has finally come to Brisbane.

This ground-breaking new production, directed by Bartlett Sher, features a cast of 40 and a live orchestra playing Rodgers & Hammerstein's beautiful score. The story centres around an America nurse who is stationed at a US Naval base during World War II who falls in love with an expatriate French plantation owner but then struggles to accept his mixed-race children.

The cast includes Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes in the lead roles, supported by Christine Anu and Gyton Grantley. Anu, a seasoned performer, who had never been involved in 'South Pacific', gamely took on the challenge of being show ready in a very tight timeframe. 

Q: Describe the show in 5 words?
Captivating, Colourful, Classic, Confronting, Life-changing

Q: What is your role and how did you become involved?
I play the role of Bloody Mary, a souvenir hawker from the island 'Bali Ha’i', which is also the title of one of the main songs the character sings. I became involved in the show after being asked to audition when the role was vacated.

Q: Highlights of being part of such a big production?
Touring to different places and performing to so many different faces is always a highlight. Working with big-name stars and a reputable company as well as a huge pool of talent that offers wonderful support.

Q: Drawbacks or challenges?
Touring! Being away from my family and routine is a drawback. My challenge has been stepping into a huge role already established by the previous actor and cast, and having a short and intense rehearsal period, like being in a pressure cooker. It’s been a big challenge.

Q: Describe a typical rehearsal?
Eight days of something like this to start: there is a vocal call with the Musical Director concentrating on the first song, then hop on stage and block that song.  Then a vocal call with the MD to go through another song, then hop on stage and block that number. Towards the end, real actors come in and there’s a tech run on the second last day.

Q: Have you seen any other versions of 'South Pacific'?
I haven’t seen any versions of 'South Pacific', only this production.

Q: What makes a good musical?
A good musical must have an interesting plot, a theme, romance, comedy, sadness and mystery, great characters — the beautiful leading lady, the charming, funny and handsome leading man and maybe a villain. There must also be amazing costumes, choreography, lighting and sets and of course the music that enhances and drives the story and leaves you singing the songs long after and wanting more.

Q: Any funny/ crazy/ weird/ wonderful stories to share about being part of this?
I played 'Liat' in my high school production which is not a singing role. Strangely, the person playing Bloody Mary was painted black. The production I did played down the racial discrimination theme, where as this production, I felt very confronted when I started the show during rehearsal.

Q: Anything else readers should know?
I have to wear tooth enamel — black, red, and 'nicotine' — for every performance. It is a little hard to remove and of course the first couple of times left my gums bleeding and too sore to keep brushing but I have to, to get the stuff off.

'South Pacific' is playing at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC until January 27.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012 14:26

Out Damn Snot: Theatre In Preview

La Boite is not known for its safe choices and their first production for 2013 confirms this. Teaming up with Shake & Stir Theatre Co, 'Out Damn Snot' is loosely inspired by Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and involves snot bubbles, snot balls, tickly nose hairs and the dance of the Booger-Bum Fairy. Three of the key players — Amy Ingram, Nick Skubij and Nelle Lee — attempt to explain a play about snot, nasal cavities and messing with magic.

Q: Describe the show in 5 words?

AI: Slimy, icky, fast-paced fun!
NS: Grotty, cheeky, gooey, crazy, punny.
NL: Silly, snotty, ridiculous, charming,

Q: What is the show all about?

AI: Well basically it's about this wonderful girl called Mackenzie who saves the world. She's brilliant. Kidding! It's actually about Heath, his sister Mackenzie and her best friend Kim who get thrown together on an adventure in a very unlikely place and they have to work together along with some bizarre characters they meet along the way to get back home again.
NS: It's quite simple really — Mackenzie and Kimmy are best friends looking for something to do on a hot summer's day. They decide to test their hand at being magicians, thanks to a spell book they find on the bookshelf (a complete works of William Shakespeare). When Mackenzie's little brother Heath gets involved, things go a bit pear-shaped and the trio find themselves magically transported into the deepest recesses of Heath's nose. Here, they meet the Booger Bum Fairy and an assortment of other crazy characters as they try to find a way to out of the nose and back home.
NL: Three kids, bored during the holidays, concoct a spell they find a spell in some book called 'The Complete Works of William Shakespeare' but it goes terribly, terribly wrong.

Q: Will we really see snot? Green snot?

AI: Totes. Tonnes of it.
NS: Yes. Yes you will. Close to 5,000 litres of the stuff per show to be exact.
NL: You sure will, lots of it — all over the stage, all over the actors. There are also some surprise dumps of other textures.

Q; What is your part in this production and how did it come about?

AI: I play the role of Mackenzie and I was asked by the Shake & Stir kids just a few months ago. I went to Uni with Nelle Lee so I was really excited to be working with her in a show again. Lots of trouble to be made!!
NS: I play Heath, the annoying, snotty little brother. I am also one of the writers. Shake & Stir does a lot of contemporary Shakespeare
productions so we used this as a starting point for the script — not only will the audience get to giggle along as the four actors get covered in slime, they will also get an overview to some of the key themes from both 'Macbeth' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Win!
NL: I play Kimmy who is a bit of a know-it-all. Her best friend Mackenzie has invited her over for a pool/ strawberry Breaka party. I also co-wrote the show.

Q: What do you learn about yourself after traipsing through the nasal cavities of a young boy?

AI: That deep inside all of us is an eight-year-old brat just trying to get their way!
NS: I've learnt not to pick my nose and I have learnt that there is no room for vanity when you are getting bucket after bucket of snot dumped onto your head.
NL: You think you know everything — but you don't. I am also very good at doing split kicks.

Q: Why should people come see a show about snot?

AI: Why not? Everybody at one stage in their lives has had their finger up their nose and now they get to see what goes on in there. It's actually very educational.
NS: It's not about snot! It's about three diverse young people working together to overcome adversity and solve problems. It just so happens that they are doing this while stomping around in 5,000 litres of green gunk! It's a laugh-out-loud holiday adventure for the young and the young at heart. And for anyone who has ever picked their nose!
NL: The best thing about this show is how enjoyable it is going to be for adults and children. It's funny and touching and just the right amount of grot.

'Out Damn Snot' presented by La Boite and shake & stir theatre co will be staged January 8-19, 2013.a

Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:59

Tease The Season: Burlesque In Preview

Describe the show in 5 words?

Festive frolic with burlesque babes!

Who is part of the show and what do they bring to the table?

The show features graduating students from The Bombshell Burlesque and Beauty Academy who will be performing in themed and choreographed group numbers as well as debuting exciting new solo  acts. They will be joined by their head tutor Lila Luxx who is Miss Perfect Pinup Australia 2012 and Bombshells tutor Jacqueline Furey. Also, the show features a very special guest star, The Strawberry Siren from Melbourne.

Can you tell us what to expect?               

Expect lots of glamour, glitter, corsets and fishnets presented by Brisbane's best bump and grind babes and nifty novices.

What should audience members bring with them?

Their best cheers and wolf whistles.

Who is the sexiest/ craziest/ most outrageous performer in the show and why?

The Strawberry Siren is the Tarantino version of Burlesque — sexy and dangerous. No stranger to the stage, Miss Strawberry draws on her extensive background in circus, theatre and dance to provide a fresh and fancy take on Burlesque that she likes to call Cirlesque.

Anything else readers should know?

The last two Bombshells Ball events have sold out in advance so don't delay to pick up tickets for the most titillating start to your festive season!

'Tease the Season' is on for one night only, Saturday December 7 at The Studio, Metro Arts.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 15:59

Managing Carmen: Theatre In Preview

The current production from QTC is 'Managing Carmen' — a hilarious, poignant and insightful play by author David Williamson.

It is about a young, successful AFL player who appears to have it all but is really hiding a controversial secret — he likes to dress as a woman. As we watch his addiction spiral out of control, the people in his life begin to show their true colours. The production was a team effort with the combination of all elements making for an excellent show. The play was presented on a revolving stage that took the audience to multiple locations: a lounge room, a manager's office, a nightclub which created a fast-paced, frenetic feel that kept the energy high. The small cast of five was fabulous, skilfully navigating the highs and lows of the story with a deft approach and creating characters that were relatable and lovable. The whole production was filled with farce and there were laughs from start to finish making for a night out that was both entertaining and engrossing.  

'Managing Carmen' is being staged at the Playhouse QPAC until November 4.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 14:43

La Soirée: Brisbane Festival

The blurb on the program said 'be prepared to be amazed, appalled, aroused, shocked, stirred and shaken' and I can honestly say I felt all those emotions and more when I saw internationally acclaimed show 'La Soiree' recently.

Other descriptions that could be added are hilarious, bewildering, mesmerising, joyous, jealousy-inducing and inspiring. The show consisted of short acts all played out on the two-metre stage in the centre of the Spiegeltent. It was the perfect venue, with the smokiness, dark lighting and open-air bar all adding to the mood. The performers were all top class, ultra professional and unique which meant even though when there was a man on rollerskates, almost falling off the stage and brandishing long knives, there was complete immersion in the act, rather than fear about potential death from a rogue flying weapon. There were acts of unbelievable strength, hilarious nudity, cheeky dancing and awe-inspiring balancing feats.

We watched Ursula Martinez and her infamous disappearing hanky routine, shaking our heads not only at the hanky but at her amazing body. We gasped in amazement as Captain Frodo, decked out in tennis gear including headband proceeded to fit his entire body through a tennis racket frame. There were audible gasps when The English Gents took to the stage and proceeded to balance themselves on themselves in incredible shows of strength.

But the gasps turned into squeals and moans when the two men removed their clothes. Not sure what happened next as was in a daze from the sheer beauty of their bodies. Also was distracted by the old lady sitting next to me who kept enquiring if they were pole dancers. Who cares? Just stop talking.

Then of course, there was David O'Mer a.k.a Bath Boy who then caused mass fainting of the females in the audience as he splashed around in a bath. I can't tell you any more detail because you would stop breathing. 'La Soirée' was an exhausting, exhilarating and exultant night out. Just go buy your tickets already!

'La Soirée' plays at the Spiegeltent until Saturday September 29.
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:22

Dave Callan: The Gangsters Ball Preview

The Gangsters’ Ball is interactive and non-stop entertainment where the audience is as much a part of the show as the performers. Featuring the biggest names in Cabaret, Sideshow Vaudeville, Burlesque, Magic, Illusion and Big Band Swing, it is an event like no other. This year's event will be MC-ed by comedian Dave Callan.

We're told that you're over in Europe at the moment for a bout of sightseeing with a little comedic work thrown in?
Yes, just did Edinburgh fringe. I feel at home there because they like hairy people. Over here this look says 'trouble-maker', in Edinburgh, 'hero'.

You're MCing 'The Gangsters' Ball', how much fun will you have playing that role? Do you fancy yourself as an Al Capone type?
Lots of fun. It's amazing to go to a shindig where absolutely everyone dresses up. It's a spectacle even before the entertainment kicks off. As for Al Capone, I'm not sure. I'd prefer to be Al Pacino in 'Scarface' with my little pump action friend. Wait, that didn't sound right.

Dave Callan's gangster nickname?
Oh yeah, you need a preferably Italian name and a defining characteristic. Like 'Wise Guy Tony' or 'One Eye Capelli' right? I'd probably be 'Lucky Clover Callan' or 'Beardy McGee'.

The Dave Callan 'The Gangsters' Ball' outfit — are we talking pinstripe silk suits, diamond stickpin, fedora topped off with a Tommy Gun for security?
Thanks, do you want to be my stylist? Haha! I have a lot of pinstripe which never goes astray. Hats never fit because I have a massive head and even more massive hair. It's interesting that everyone goes as prohibition-era gangsters. Nobody ever comes with a baseball cap and pants slung low or as Jabba the Hutt.

Have you ever dabbled with the idea of permanently erasing the beard from your look?
No. Much that I'm pro beard as anti-chin. Most women have stronger jaw lines than me.

Looking back at your career — the early days with Rove on Channel 9, no one can ever foretell their future, but did you have any inkling that your career would take off so much?
I really like the sound of laughter. So that drives me in everything I do. The most rewarding thing you can do is make other people happy.

Your film career is under way with your role in the Aussie flick 'Reverse Runner', where you star alongside Australian Olympic hero Steve Moneghetti. How was the experience?
It was great. Those guys who made that are brilliant I think they are going to go a long way. I was a commentator for a pro race where people run backwards. Worth chasing up when it comes out and the trailer should be online now.

Presenting the Graveyard Shift on Triple J, does it ever get lonely or are there enough "different" folks to keep things lively?
Yes indeed, hosted that bad boy from 2005 - 2010. It was five years of mayhem. Never a dull moment. As I got more tired, the calls got more weird which kept me awake! Someone rang in once to tell me they had tied their dog to a wheelbarrow so aliens couldn't abduct it. Made sense at 5am.

How is your 2012 new year's resolution working out?
Well. I have been going well with it. No diet drinks. They are poison. So I'm fat now but my brain and kidneys work.

Your Twitter page proudly declares that you 'secretly like spiritual stuff'. You're pulling our leg, right?
No, I get a lot out of meditation. I like the idea that we are all learning and improving as we go through life if we reflect properly and process everything well and don't feed the negativity. I think everyone can agree that that is a good thing and a proper use of existence whether Atheist, Christian, Muslim, Native American, Jedi, Church of the flying spaghetti monster or any other tradition. As the late comedian George Carlin said as Rufus in Bill and Ted's excellent adventure, "Be excellent to each other".

Dave Callan is the most excellent host of the upcoming 'The Gangsters' Ball 2012' at The Tivoli, September 15.


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