Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Elanora Expedition

The residents and staff of the Elanora Home in Stansbury seemed pleased today with our 90 minute concert made up of songs escaped from last Wednesday's Annual Concert. Anyway, everyone said they liked us, the dozen singers and the slightly fewer band members. We enjoyed the afternoon too! Beaut weather for this the last day of our southern winter.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Monday? It can't be Monday!

Damn. It's Monday. Monday night. The weekend went away, but we got to watch the LAST Harry Potter film on Saturday night at that centre of culture, Yorketown Town Hall. The HP phenomenon is by now famous for being famous. Small audience, when I thought it would be well attended, but it was a cold night and maybe they all stayed in by cosy fires. The other surprise was that the un-numerous audience consisted mostly of family groups with young kids none of whom appeared to be scared by the scary bits. Is it a sign of the times. Real life is scarier?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Full House not the Sydney Opera House

OK, the consensus appears to be that yesterday's annual concert by our 14 strong group of singers-and-pianist was good, and many from the audience of old faithfuls declared it "the best ever" by which I take it they meant YOUR best ever; and not, as it were, a Guinness Book of Records all-comers new PB. It felt good, and the warm fuzzies do indeed pump up the endorphins. I just got home from an afternoon of viewing with some cast the DVDs (2 discs) made from my digital recording of the 100 minutes of the concert of songs and sketches.

The on-stage performance itself was preceded by fund-raising trading tables which raised $1,300 for worthy projects; then afterwards we ate up anything left of an edible nature. D. came over from Sydney staying with mum who happens to be Musical Director. She acted cleverly as our photographer documenting this historic event, and I noticed that her car bears the bumper sticker: "Where the hell is Warooka?" Kind of says it all, but WE know.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Annual haircut essential for singing

This morning, full of glass half full bonhomie, I fronted up for the annual haircut (not really) in readiness for tomorrow's concert - always simply called "the August Concert" by our bold mob of singers. About 90 minutes of miscellany, some of it quite bearable. Our friendly audience - pretty much the same hundred individuals or a quarter of the town's population - has been coming to these strange events for the past twenty years. Yesterday we saw the DVD of Sunday's much improved dress rehearsal. Now we just need to learn that Maureen gets back safely today after weeks of gallivanting in Europe. Too bad if she is delayed and has to go straight from airport to stage tomorrow! But we know she could do it if demanded. Some people are born with the greasepaint already applied.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Monday, 15 August 2011

For cat lovers everywhere

For cat lovers everywhere - a strange animal in the garden
A happy gone-viral vid, five and a half million views.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Well done MMAC, Maitland Music & Arts Club

I don't know what Peter Goers will write in his Sunday Mail column, but I know he has a soft spot for Maitland and comes to their biennial shows. In 2009 it was Oklahoma. Half of the members of our own little singing group were at performances of the MMAC's 2011 Oliver! over two weekends ending the run last night. This must be a great example of the way amateur groups involve a whole country-town community and can reach a high standard. Sure, there's unevenness and the unexpected, but that happens in the theatre world at all levels. And a happy full house on the night - that is magic. Huge credit to 'em all. The program credits demonstrate how much of a family affair the involvement was - often three and four occurrences of the same surnames, even a couple of fives, I think. More than sixty cast and crew. Last week (7 August blog) I made honorable mention of cast, but key team leaders have to be Leanne and Richard Cane (Director and Choreographer; Technical Director) and Di and Roger Morgan (Musical Director; Set Design & Stage Manager). On stage at the end Club President Paul Hayles presented a lifetime membership to veteran of 28 years with the Club, Tim Tuck, who seems to have performed every role possible and dealt with every kind of creative and admin challenge in that time. Long live MMAC and all its counterparts everywhere.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Algernon, Saatchi, and your trip to Mars

Don't leave home. Enjoy Mars from your armchair.

The Mars Society just sent me the above link to a VSSEC (no, nothing to do with vivisection) presentation at a West Australian event of two weeks ago. It is impressive that high school students in Australia these days can get access to serious scientific modelling of Mars rover vehicles such as are described.

I got home last night after a productive three days in Adelaide, my "overseas" trip, even if I did have to drive around the top of Gulf St Vincent and, approaching Port Wakefield, duel with a feral bus signed "Yorke Peninsula Buses" along its cruel side. I know  who the driver is and I know where you live, buddy. As a suitable pay-back I am thinking of taking the rabbit from by backyard and putting it in your backyard.

Speaking of animals, there was a yellow rhinoceros and a perfume-nuzzling white goat among the installations in the Saatchi Exhibition of British Art at the Art Gallery of SA (this runs until October), plus a 4-metre pair of cardboard puppies which, our guide said, fold down flat. There was a set of black as-if-tarred rabbits which had curious relationships with lit neon tubes. No reasons were given. That's why it's art. In the UK, this past fortnight, street rioting and looting in some cities has become the latest artform, depending how you look at it.

Yesterday I was one of eighteen at a hands-on 4-hour seminar with fellow editors from a variety of professional settings, most employed in government or private industry, and a few freelance like me. The gathering was mildly historic for us, being the first time the recently formed Institute of Professional Editors (Aust.) has sponsored an interstate event of this sort. And only two weeks from now they will host, in Sydney NSW, the 5th National Conference of Editors, which I will attend.

Other stuff during my visit to our state capital had to do with annoying medical matters with over-cheerful doctors, and I shared Heartbeat House (which is a residence made available at modest cost to country visitors) with a couple from Mildura: she to see her specialist while in town, and he, as accompanying spouse. He is an ex-professional boxer once well-known at country shows in Australia, and the pair of them also had done a spot of country singing. You never know who you'll meet.

Wanting a dose of culture other than the yellow rhino I saw the movie - in truth the only one for which the screening time matched my schedule - Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I knew from the write-ups that it was a backstory to the iconic Planet of the Apes, the film of Pierre Boulle's novel. What nobody had said, nor was it acknowledged in screen credits, was that half the screenplay - an intelligence-enhancing drug that goes wrong: it smartens the primates and kills off the humans - is a re-working of Daniel Keyes' classic short story Flowers for Algernon. OK, Algernon was a rat not a chimp, but same difference.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Theatrical circles

OK, it's a pun. Puns are much undervalued. First "theatrical circle" is yesterday's new crop formation near Bishop Cannings in Wiltshire. You can read Michelle Jennings's Comments by clicking the link above the aerial crop image on the page:
The circle makers, whoever they are, in the past ten days are playing with us by adopting a more cartoon-like approach to getting our attention - and less of the abstruse mathematics. One picture last week was unmistakably of a bug-eyed alien head happily smoking a Sherlock Holmes-style pipe. I call that delightful theatre.

So too, on Friday, was the opening night performance by the Maitland Music and Arts Club of Lionel Bart's Oliver! in the town's nicely equipped little McKnight Theatre. We thoroughly enjoyed the collective efforts of its cast of thousands. Well, I counted 63 cast and crew in the photograph on the back of Tim Tuck's handsome program. The 50-minute drive was worth it, and we even restrained ourselves from jumping up out of our seats to advise Director Leanne Cane just how to do it, since our singing group will perform some of the show's famed songs in our concert a couple of weeks from now. Hence, we Consider Ourselves (ha, ha) to be instant experts. Congrats to all involved, especially Roger Morgan for the sets and seamless scenery shifts. Musical Director Di Morgan also choreographed the show.

Hey, this is not meant as a full review, and if I started where would I stop? Oliver and Fagin and Nancy were played very well indeed and have had press coverage. Local heroes. But the stand-out has to be Callum Agnew's Artful Dodger, every bit as good as the iconic Dodger of the 1968 movie as played by the late Jack Wild. OK, I did start. But I'll stop there.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Bikes and a birthday

Frankly, I prefer the bikes in this Video (after yesterday's silly aircraft video of faked images). The bikes are real-world solid creations. Some are even real and practical everyday rides; some not so practical; and one or two are purely artworks - love the skeleton!
Now, whose birthday is it today? Clue: it's his 81st. Hmm. All right. That gave away that it's a fella. 'Nother clue. He was a month short of 39 in July 1969 when we all heard about him. Of course. Neil Armstrong, first human officially on the moon. Oops. Did I say that? Anyway, back when I was a kid in the '40s wondering when the first moon-landing would occur... sometime in my lifetime, I reckoned, and at that time MOST ADULTS thought this was way-out science fiction... I NEVER PICKED that The First Man In The Moon was, in fact, almost nine years my senior.
Pity about the Oops. Tell you about that one of these days.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Plane sailing? Aircraft fun with photoshop!

It's a joke, people. But clever users of photoshop-type artwork bring to your computer screen some quirky concepts in aircraft design. Maybe next year. After all, it's not so long ago that 2-storey seating in a passenger plane would have been in the realm of fantasy... or engine pods hanging off a wing... or twin hulls. Have a look-see. Remember, this is all in fun. Right?

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Minlaton singers and emu chicks

Our singers did their second concert in eight days in the tidy little town of Minlaton, named in the 1840s for its aboriginal sweetwater wells which are still in evidence. In fact I took a stroll to them on the well maintained walking trail which passes through the only stand of River Redgums on the Yorke Peninsula, which gave Gum Flat its name. I also took a picture of these three little emu chicks. All toddler emus are striped, but later lose the stripes. The little guy on the right

looks like he is checking if his socks are pulled up.