Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

“Tell them what the Internet is fooooor…”

I took my wife to the Comedy Theatre yesterday for a matinee performance of Broadway’s multi-award winning Avenue Q. Growing up in the early to mid 80s (guess that kinda pegs my age into a certain age group!) to the regular introduction of letters and numbers of Sesame Street, it was great to relive something days long gone in the flesh.

Of course, nobody in the audience was expecting anything as tame as the PBS show, so we knew what we were getting ourselves in for. It is the most extraordinary show I’ve ever seen. Who knew puppets could be so funny and touching? Few people would have the chance of experiencing a quality Broadway performance in their lifetime and I’m glad had a chance to say they’ve definitely destroyed my cutesy image of puppets! It’s Sesame Street meets South Park! I won’t give anymore away! It’s so good I feel like double clicking on my mouse……..

The Avenue Q team plays in Melbourne for another week before moving to other parts of Australia. Tickets are very affordable and have been reduced to $49.90 (except Saturdays) and I highly recommend it with your family or date or just friends wanting a good time. Just make sure they’re of ‘mature’ age!

EDIT: I just realised Neil’s previous post has a picture of Lucy the Slut. How’s that for unwitting advertisement placement?

Image from avenueqthemusical.com.au

Comedy Festival: We’re halfway there

comedyfestposterWell, we are half way through the Comedy Festival and I have mixed feelings on this year’s festival. It’s sort of like asking halfway through the season last year about the Geelong Cats. Most would have said, they are great and are going to win the premiership. You can’t say the same after last year’s Grand Final. With sporting teams and comedy festivals, your impression can be changed by the last thing you saw them do.

I started out the festival with seeing Steven K Amos and was not disappointed.  The comedy was simple. Steven K Amos and a microphone on stage, telling us stories, interacting with the audience, and even talking about the current events of Melbourne.  The entire audience was continually laughing. I laughed so hard I cried. That is good comedy.

The great thing about the festival is its ability to give anyone a chance. The whole city turns into amateur hour for a month. This is great and has seen many comedians excel in comedy. Unfortunately, there is no licencing or guidelines for comedies, and what you can get is a mixed bag.

So due to different sets of circumstances, I ended up seeing Jokey Joke Time and Accidental Identity. I had the same feeling for both shows: is this the Comedy Festival or is this the Fringe Festival? JJT was well presented in the courtroom of the Melbourne Gaol and featured  Eric Hutton performing standup comedy mixed in with the occasional rap, saxophone playing by Jennifer Wong, and pictures/sketches to accompany some topics. As a presentation or something fringy, it was good, as a comedy it failed to make myself or the audience laugh. It reminded me of  PowerPoint presentations I had to do at uni with myself making the speech and my partner controlling the computer. An ability of a good comedian is to connect with the audience and while the content of the comedy was funny, I don’t feel like the audience or myself connected with him. He did make me realise one thing; it really grosses me out when someone talks with a mouth full of food.

Accidental Identity was definitely far from what I expected from the comedy festival. This was a full length play with an intermission, that happened to be in the comedy genre. As a comedy I found some parts of it amusing but as a play I found the show very interesting and well acted. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of plays in fact the only thing resembling a play I’ve seen in my years is the Lion King.

Maybe I set my standards too high? Do I expect too much to just see either standup or improv that can make me laugh? Has Youtube ruined me? Maybe, but I think you have to keep it simple. The most sucessful comics at the festival are people who can connect with audience, who can talk about things that relate to the audience, and appeal to people of all ages and interests.  But what do I know? I would have picked “Man getting hit with Football“.

Children of conflict zone jump aboard for Skateistan

But in war-ravaged Kabul, she found that aside from security concerns about a Westerner being out on the streets, its streets were too badly bomb-damaged to lend themselves to gliding along on a skateboard. She had to be content with riding within the security confines of the compound where she lived.

I read with amazement and awe as the magnitude of Sharna Nolan’s achievements slowly transforms the war-ravaged city of Kabul. The humble little four-wheeled mode of transportation – often ridiculed and derided by local governments worldwide for defacing public property and the so called ‘troublesome’ sub-culture that skateboarders bring along – is giving Afghan kids something to look forward to every day. With the internet at our fingertips, few things truely amaze us. Likewise, I don’t find myself easily shocked at cheap attempts to impress, but Sharna’s Skateistan project truly warmed and touched my heart.

The first thing I did was to Google Skateistan, and I found myself compelled to help in any way I could.

I found the donation page and donated $5 to the project via Paypal. It’s not much, but every little bit counts. $5 in Afghanistan’s probably the equivalent of a weekly wage.

What a brave woman. From the streets of Fitzroy to the bomb craters of Kabul. This lady and her partners deserve all the help and support she needs.

This truly is hope working its magic.

Skateistan’s website: http://skateistan.org.

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Human Powered Cycles new shop opening party!

Human Powered Cycles promote and foster sustainable transport with the skill, experience and tooling to repair not replace. As well as their commercial venture and its new shop in Thornbury, there is their community bike work organisation called Community Cycles (38 Harrison Street Brunswick East). Here they coordinate the Charity Bike Project where unloved bike and bike part donations go towards providing transport for Asylum Seekers, refugees, newly arrived migrants, unemployed and homeless persons, as well as low cost transport for struggling students and concession holders. On Mondays volunteers come and help refurbish donated bikes for this project. Community Cycles (as well as Human Powered Cycles) accepts these bike donations any day they are open, so if you have a bike not being used or in disrepair, this is a good place for it.

Help them celebrate the opening of their new shop at 562 High Street, Thornbury tonight from 6pm.

Get into Art, and Vegan food, this Sunday

This Sunday (26 October) there are two big events happening: the Get into Art! public art galleries open day, and the World Vegan Day Festival

Get into Art! is an annual open day of public art galleries across Victoria. This year, 41 galleries will be
participating with free activities and events on Sunday from 11am-4pm.

Some examples I’ve picked out of the Get into Art! program are:

Get Into Architecture at City Museum at Old Treasury – tours, talks and exhibits focusing on the architecture of Melbourne. Melbourne’s Old Treasury Building was designed by nineteen-year-old architect JJ Clark, and is widely regarded as the finest nineteenth century building in Australia.

  • 11am Tour of Old Treasury Building
  • 12noon Talk about the architect JJ Clark
  • 1pm Tour of Old Treasury Building
  • 2pm Curator talk – The Impermanent City
  • 3pm Tour of Old Treasury Building

State Library of Victoria free tour

  • 1-2pm and 3-4pm Free Library tour, including exhibition galleries and the famous dome.

Comic book jam at The Town Hall Gallery, Hawthorn and the annual Yeah Write! Zine fair at Hawthorn Town Hall including zine making workshops for both adults and children.

For the full list of program highlights, see this pdf.

Another event on Sunday is the World Vegan Day Festival, described as…

a positive celebration of being vegan: a lifestyle which includes a plant-based diet and endorses compassionate choices and sustainable consumption. It is a day for vegans, those interested in the vegan way of life and all their friends to come together and learn how to live longer, kinder and with a smaller carbon footprint.

If you’re keen to learn more about veganism, this is a great place to do just that. Running from 10am to 5pm, this is a free event. It will be held at Rosina Function Space, The Abbotsford Convent (1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford). There are some great talks being held on the day.

For more information on these events:

Just over a month to The Rat Race Melbourne

Hey guys I had mentioned back in August about Melbourne’s most exciting adventure-cum-race ever to grace our lovely shores.

There’s just over a month before The Rat Race Melbourne begins and there’s still time to register. Form a team of three and challenge yourself both physically and mentally. But ultimately, remember to have fun!

Be part of the Ratolution!

Sign up here: http://www.ratraceadventure.com/page215.asp

NAB’s "Dream Festival"

www.dreamfestival.com.au

Hey fellow Melbournians,

Sick of having to switch on the television or open a newspaper to be advertised to? Well, this just in from a friend, “the Yarra River, our Princes Bridge, Birrarung Marr and that entire precinct of our city will be sold over to the National Australia Bank for FOUR DAYS to run a PR campaign”!

Apparently this National Australia Bank advertising campaign will feature art installments “depicting the dreams of Australians”.

Wow!

I know what one of my dreams is – nationalise the National Australia Bank, and re-regulate the country’s financial system! Wha… no? That particular installments not in there…? Oh. Ok.

How about something reflecting some of the dreams of Melbournian graffiti artists; to be able to walk down the street without being harrassed by police and fined for posession of spray paint. To have the same kind of access to public spaces that the National Australia Bank has, by being able to print your message up for all to see! That way, EVERY day can be a Dream Festival!

Oh… that’s not in there either?

Gee.

Well, get on down if you really haven’t seen enough ads this weekend. And please, go on to their website to see a mighty piece of prose called “Ideas. Dreams. Aspirations.” signed by John Stewart and Ahmed Fahour – the “Group Chief Executive Officer” and “CEO” of NAB, respectively – i know i’m dying to know what these intellectual and cultural giants have to say! I wonder what it’s like to get so much of the monetary reward from other people’s efforts? I hope they write some memoirs for us! Oh yeah, you better believe it. What a time to be a Melbournian!

Singapore Day

The weather’s a lot nicer these days (though it still warrants a light jumper), so if you happen to be around the Sidney Myer Music Bowl this late morning or arvo, check out some local and distinctive Singaporean fare at Singapore Day 2008. Note the choice words of Singaporean, not Asian. Asian food is so varied and colourful, calling it ‘Asian food’ like most Asian food stalls do is just another nail into an Australian’s stereotyped penchance for ‘fried rice beef with black bean sauce’ when they think Asian food.

But I digress.

With the inaugural Singapore Day in New York City a runaway success last year, organisers have brought Singapore Day into our antipodean shores. Although registration is required, there should be no reason why you can just waltz up into the grounds as entry is free.

Oh btw, Singapore Noodles DO NOT EXIST. That’s a bastardised version of our famous Prawn Noodles and Hokkien Mee. I’ll be making my way to the grounds soon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a ‘Singapore Noodle’ stall existed. Or some ignorant foreigner walking around asking for a Singapore Noodle stall.

Videogames domination!

Do we really need another EB Games outlet? I spied this extra-large shop along Swanston Street (opposite The Westin Hotel) on my way to check out business at post-fire Myer. The overpriced, ubiquitous, fluorescent-lit and in your face advertising console and PC gaming shop is e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. They’re flooding the market with significant mark-ups that’s not doing other independent videogame shops any favour. Down with EB!!! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo…

USS McCain at Station Pier

The USS John S McCain (naval destroyer) has arrived at Station Pier in Port Melbourne with around 300 naval crew. I read in the papers they will be staying in Melbourne for the coming week, enjoying the sights and leisure activities around town. Some of the crew will be staying in the hotels just so they can enjoy the comfort of a proper bed and a decent shower. Imagine the tight conditions that they live and work in, I suppose some would enjoy some privacy as well.

I read as well, that a hundred years ago, when the US Great White Fleet arrived in Port Melbourne, they had 14000 sailors. Around 300 of them enjoyed Melbourne so much that they ended up staying permanently. If around the same number decided to stay in Melbourne, there might not be enough crew member left to take the destroyer back home!

Links
USS John S McCain website.
Herald Sun’s “USS John S McCain …”
ABC Melbourne’s “USS John McCain in Melbourne
The Age “…Great White Fleet comes calling “

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