Items filtered by date: April 2013
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:55

Diatribe: Top Five Chins

1. The Tick. As far as comically large chins go, you pretty much can’t go past The Tick. Played in the short-lived Tick live action series by Patrick Warburton ie. Puddy from ‘Seinfeld’ and Joe Swanson from ‘Family Guy’, both of whom also have comically large chins to the point that the three characters will now be referred to as ‘The Holy Chinity’. Spoon!

2. Bruce Campbell. A B-lister who has survived decades in ‘the biz’ using only his wits and the magnificence of his chin. His autobiography is titled ‘If Chins Could Kill’. Though his power is derived from his Boomstick, his authority is powered solely by the chin.

3. The guy who played Rico in ‘Starship Troopers’ [Ed’s note: Casper Van Dien]. Possibly the most chiselled jaw in existence. This is how I imagine Christian fundamentalists believe Adam would have looked like. His career may have died after this movie, but that facial bull-bar is immortal.

4. Ron Perlman. When I first saw ‘Alien: Resurrection’, I assumed the producers had engineered some kind of human/ orangutan hybrid, Dr Moreau style, specifically for that movie. It turns out it was just Ron Perlman. He can, and does, eat dinner off that chin. That’s a science fact.

5. Kim Jong-un’s three chins. His people are starving just so these divine chins can exist. Pay your respects.

Diatribe support Afrika Bambaataa at the Hi-Fi Saturday May 18.

Published in Urban
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 09:28

Art Of Sleeping: Growing Fan Base

Almost seven months after the release of their impressive debut EP, ‘Like A Thief’, Art Of Sleeping have completed a number of tours to establish a countrywide fanbase.

Despite describing himself as his own worst critic, frontman Caleb Hodges is still happy with their debut effort after giving it time to sink in.

“As soon as I'm finished writing a song, before recording, I'll probably be off it, pick it apart and decide that I hate it. So in retrospect there's always a million things that I could change about a song and could keep changing it forever. But as an artist you just have to learn to let it go when you’re at the point where you think you're happy with it.

“We're really happy with the way that people have received it. We had zero expectations for it, because you never want to set your hopes too high. But we've done a lot of shows and a lot of tours off the back of that EP so the things we've been able to do have been wonderful.”

The band take real pride in their energetic sound and try their best to replicate that authenticity on record.

“I think that’s one thing that all of us as a musical group were really happy with – that we tracked the EP live and it is what it is and exactly how we play it live. Sometimes you go to a live show and it’s not what’s on the CD or half of what it was, but with us it’s exactly what we are and it’s something that I wouldn't want to change.”

Looking for an even bigger year than last, the band were announced last week as part of this year’s Splendour In The Grass bill.

“We all got really excited when we saw the line-up announcement. We've loved Cloud Control for ages, but never gotten to see them so I'm excited for that. Then there’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra, James Blake, The National. Our keyboardist Jarryd got me onto Daughter about a year ago so I'll be very keen for them as well.”

Art Of Sleeping play Splendour In The Grass, North Byron Parklands, July 26-28

Published in Rock
Monday, 29 April 2013 22:42

Chris Tucker: Back Where It Started

Chris Tucker makes quite an impression. He has been in far fewer movies than you would think, no more than a dozen, but it feels like more, because each of his roles is so distinctive.

The biggest of these roles was as the fast-talking Detective Carter in the ‘Rush Hour’ trilogy, where he made his name, not to mention his fortune – the third instalment made him the highest-paid actor in Hollywood. Thanks to this success, Tucker now works only when he wants to, as in David O. Russell’s eccentric indie flick ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. All of this spare time has given him the opportunity to pursue his first love – stand-up comedy.

“School was a scary place for me,” he says. “Trying to get my homework done was hard, and I would daydream a lot and get into trouble. I used to host talent shows, and I guess you’d say I had an epiphany when I got my first laugh. I was the last person to figure out that I was funny, but once I knew I could make my friends and teachers laugh, I knew I was in a good place, and that’s what I wanted to do.”

At that young age, Tucker idolised comedians like Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor.

“Those guys took the path from stand-up to acting in movies,” he says, “and I decided I wanted to do that as well, but the path eventually led back to stand-up, back where I started out.”

Tucker’s earliest comedy memories involve watching scratchy bootleg recordings of Murphy stand-up specials.

“When we first got cable down on my street, we didn’t have it, but my good friend up the street did,” he says. “They had to lay down the cables for you to get it in your house, and they hadn’t got to us yet, but my good friend had it and recorded Eddie Murphy’s ‘Delirious’ from HBO. He brought it down on a VHS tape and let us watch it, which we did, over and over again. When we finally got cable, I used to watch ‘Delirious’ and ‘Rocky 3’ over and over again. I got into Richard Pryor a bit later in life, but Eddie Murphy was my first comedy love.”

In the early stages of his career, Tucker was something of a loose cannon, making his name with profane and hilarious performances on shows like HBO’s ‘Def Comedy Jam’. While time hasn’t exactly mellowed him, he’s definitely older and wiser these days.

“My goal is for everybody at the show to have a good time. If I do cross any lines, well, I don’t think it’s going to be too much. I mean, I talk about my own experiences in the show, and I get a bit of stuff off my chest, but it’s not really about that so much. I tell a lot of stories in the show, I do a lot of characters, and I talk about the state of the world. It’s just about jokes and being funny.”

Many stand-up comedians say they’re constantly switched on, always looking for new jokes, but Tucker doesn’t concern himself too much with this.

“If I’m not on stage, I’m living my life. Something might cross my mind and I’ll try to remember it in some kind of way, and when I get to the comedy club that night, I’ll try and bring it up. I’m not on all day long. I mean, I’m observant and quiet most of the time, and I only turn it on when I get on stage.”

It’s important, however, to insert as many new jokes as possible in each night’s show.

“If it’s fresh to me, I deliver it better,” he says. “I don’t like to do the same routine over and over – I want to feel what I’m saying and believe what I’m saying, because if I feel that way, the audience will believe it too.”

One of Tucker’s earliest and funniest ‘Def Comedy Jam’ skits was based around the idea that America would never have a black president. Now living during the Obama Administration, does he like to reflect on that joke?

“Yeah, I do!” he says. “I have a whole bit about President Obama – it’s really good stuff. Back then, the idea of a black president was really farfetched, but now we have one. My comedy has evolved in that time, and so have I, and so has the world. It’s cool that I can talk and joke about that now, about how much things have changed.”
A few years ago, Tucker travelled to Africa on a humanitarian mission, along with former US President Bill Clinton. It was an eye-opening trip, as the pair took in the scope and beauty of the country and its people. All in all, the mission was a wild success… except for the time that Tucker started a riot in Ghana.

“We were in a shopping mall, and a guy there gave me a drum,” he says, with a nervous laugh. “I didn’t have anything to give him, except for a couple of hundred dollars in my pocket, so I gave him a hundred dollars, and when people saw, it turned ugly. I walked away with the drum, and as I did that, other people started to surround him and a big fight broke out.”

At that point, it was clear that everyone had to leave – the secret service stepped in and hustled Tucker to the car, where Clinton was waiting. Needless to say, it was awkward.

“The secret service told him what I’d done, and he turned to me and said: ‘Tucker, why’d you do that? You could’ve asked me for change! You almost started a riot here – I wasn’t done shopping!’”

If comedy is pain, then on the basis of experiences like this, Tucker has no shortage of A-grade material for his show.

Chris Tucker performs at The Brisbane Convention Centre June 13 and Jupiters Theatre June 14.

Published in Comedy
Sunday, 28 April 2013 07:46

The Antisocial Observer:August 07 2013

SURPRISE SUCCESS

If we accept that we are all, in fact, in a rat race, then amongst the other rats who have degrees and health insurance, I am the rat with scabs on its back telling everyone to check out my colourful new wheel that I picked up off Gumtree. What I'm trying to explain to you is that I feel like I'm falling behind my peer group. You know that feeling you get when you turn around and people you have been hanging out with have got their Master’s, seemingly out of nowhere? One minute everyone is hanging out, and then you see your friend John and he has his Master’s. I mean, last time I saw John he was screaming 'butt chug, butt chug' and now he's an accountant with a son named Xavier (the mum didn't like the name 'Butt Chug Butt Chug Jnr').

Even more annoying than someone’s surprise success is when that somebody was someone from high school and was never meant to become successful. In the narrative of my life, Brent Dawes was not supposed to become a successful entrepreneur and find true love. He was supposed to become an alcoholic and wish that he had never thrown a basketball at my head four times. Once on the rebound, but still.

Becky Lucas is a Brisbane comic and Triple J RAW Comedy grand finalist who performs locally and interstate. Follow her @Becky_Lucas89. 

Published in Columns
Talya Rubin knew from an early age knew she wanted to be an actress, and her latest one-woman show will take audiences into the dark unknown.

‘Of The Causes Of Wonderful Things' is the tale of a woman whose five nieces and nephews go missing, and Talya plans to make the audience responsible for what they see.

“Hopefully the show is something that excites audiences. There's a limited audience, we only have room for 40 or so people. We have used a smaller scale because we have the miniatures and so the audience gets to experience the story intimately, which I really like. They get this experience of being involved and implicated in what's happening on stage that they wouldn't get from sitting in a bigger audience.”

Although a one-woman show, Talya says audiences will meet an abundance of characters both alive and dead. “With this play, the changes in character are subtle. There's not a wild transformation, I stay in the same costume, and it's more vocal and somewhat gestural than anything. It's about inhabiting characters, more than transforming in some kind of  amazing way before people’s eyes. It might sound strange, but all these different characters inhabit me, they're all from the same source. There's also puppets. There's a papier mache donkey puppet, and a puppet playing the role of the evil boyfriend, which I found at a local market and had to have.” 

After touring with her original solo plays 'Ariadne's Thread' and 'The Girl With No Thread,' Talya's latest play takes a step towards the dark side of the stage.
“The thing about the show is that even though it's dark, it definitely has a lot of redemptive qualities to it. It's about the redemptive power of darkness, and in the end it's really about characters changing because of a terrible event.

“The show's got some comedy too. It's got a lot of lightness and it is not like a deep dark show that I get really depressed doing. Plus if the show hits the right note with the audience, it's meant to be dark and strange but feel right. I didn’t set out to do a show that was dark and depressing, but I think it really works.”

Particular about where she directs her creative energy, Talya says the inspiration for her latest show struck her out of the blue, and wouldn't let her forget about it.

“Well this particular show was a bit unusual in that inspiration happened whilst I was in an improvisation class. I was doing as workshop with fellow artists who teach each other different skills, and this workshop was a 'devising' workshop where we worked with different objects around the room.

“Basically all the characters for the show emerged from this one class along with the basic concept without really even understanding what it was at the time. So the bones of it all emerged through improvisation and it wouldn’t leave me alone. I only make work if I think the material is significant enough, and this was something that was not quite haunting me, but it wouldn't let me go.”

See 'Of The Causes Of Wonderful Things' at The Brisbane Powerhouse May 1-4


Published in Theatre
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 06:01

Food: Theatre In Review

‘Food', a play written by Steve Rodgers and starring Kate Box, Emma Jackson and Fayssal Bazzi, is a warm, delicious and tantalising experience. Food itself is integral to the play and to the events in the play with the audience invited to partake of the food (people in the audience were literally eating bread, soup and drinking wine).

The play is set in a small family takeaway shop, perched on the roadside of the great Australian highway in the late '70s/ early '80s. Based around the sisters Nancy (Jackson) and Elma (Box), who are like chalk and cheese, the play progresses and the underlying current of tension and resentment between them flows to the surface. Nancy has been away for 15 years — she escaped after a traumatic event and turned to travel and sex — whereas Elma stayed on at home and became focussed on food and order.

Everything changes when they take on Hakan, a sexy Turkish traveller, as a kitchen hand. Like a cat among the pigeons, Hakan stirs up emotions and the sisters are tested — can the girls forgive, forget and forge a new bond?

The mix of dancing, acting, cooking and cleaning was a delight and beautifully showcased the talented cast. The stage design was perfect with the backdrop of large pots dotted on the back wall simple yet dazzlingly effective. More pots are used to great effect as stools, steps, cooking utensils, and to catch the water leaking from the ceiling. The play has some laugh-out-loud moments which provided relief from the tension and heartache as layers of past hurts are slowly exposed and finally allowed to heal. Don't miss this — 'Food' is a nourishing night of theatre.

'Food' is playing a limited season at La Boite until April 27.

Published in Theatre
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 05:54

Star Wars Burlesque: The Empire Strips Back

It is a period of civil war, the galaxy was a battleground in which Rebel and Imperial forces wage war — and it appears that clothing is optional.

But beware Gold Coast — the intergalactic dogfight is invading Queensland's glitter strip. I got the chance to catch up with Russall Beattie, the creative director behind 'Star Wars Burlesque: The Empire Strips Back', who says it's a dream to undress the classic sci-fi series.

“I've been in burlesque now for ten years,” Russall explains. “I've always been into comics, science fiction, movies, horror and all these different things — stuff that I used to keep secret in high school that I now get to make a living out of.

“I get to dress up pretty girls like 'Star Wars' characters, but I didn't know this was going to be my lifestyle when I was a kid. But I'm happy I've created such a job for myself.”

Considering how much of a self-confessed geek Russall is, does he ever feel like his parody is doing injustice to the 'Star Wars' franchise?

“I constantly have that feeling. That's why with every show, I always add something or improve on something. Actually, the version of the show that's going to be on the Gold Coast is the last time we will perform that particular version of the show. I'm actually shutting it down for six months and redoing all the costumes from scratch, adding new props, adding new acts and re-envisioning the show and getting it closer to what you want as a fan.”

Also boasting a cast ranging from Darth Vader to Boba Fett, it's safe to say 'Star Wars' is traditionally a male-dominated affair. So, surely it was difficult to make unsexy characters, well, sexy, right?

“It's quite easy to translate most of those characters into girls because the unknowing is what's behind the mask. The hardest thing is to try and do the characters justice and getting their characteristics right. For example, for our first shows it was too expensive to get a movie quality Chewbacca costume. So, it was difficult to make that into a sexy character and that's why we created the girls who actually hunt Wookiees and wear their fur — and not much of it either.”

And joking aside, George Lucas would send in the lawyers if he found himself seated at the Gold Coast Arts Centre in May, Russall believes his attention to detail is enough to win over the filmmaker and fans alike.

“I'd like to think he'd enjoy it because it is made by fans for fans. I see a lot of the problems from the other 'Star Wars' burlesque shows out there, and the only thing that separates my shows from them, is the fan service.

“They're more traditionally from the burlesque scene; whereas I make my shows for the 'Star Wars' fans first and the burlesque scene second. That's why I get dancers in to fill the roles because it's more of a production.”

See 'Star Wars Burlesque: The Empire Strips Back' at The Gold Coast Arts Centre May 4.

Published in Cabaret
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 19:47

Iron Man 3: Film Preview

With all due respect to Margaret Thatcher, Rebecca Hall is the new Iron Lady.

The Golden Globe nominee — best known for her work in 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona', 'The Town' and 'The Prestige' — stars opposite Robert Downey Jr in 'Iron Man 3' as Maya Hansen, a brilliant bio-technologist with an extremely shocking new invention.

“'Extremis' is a formula that my character has developed,” Hall explains, “that essentially reprograms your genetic code so that you can re-grow your body to be however you want it to be, essentially so you can become superhuman. But it's got some issues and problems.”

That's an understatement, but to say anything more than that would be to say too much. What Hall can talk about are the experiences she had on the set, highlighted by working with Downey Jr.

“I have loved working with Robert Downey Jr,” she enthuses. “He is a real force and he's very energising to work with because he's very unexpected. He knows this character; he knows Tony Stark inside out. He understands him so completely. I think what's particularly charming and wonderful about Tony Stark, and what Robert's done to create it, is his great wit.

“He's very funny and he shows his intellect through his wit. And that's pure Downey Jr.; that's not really anything else; that's just him, and he is quick-witted like that. So it's very thrilling to work with him because you have to give as good as you get, which is a great challenge and fun.”

Of course, the clothes make the man, and getting the chance to see the Iron Man armour on set was another highlight of the gig for Hall.

“The coolest aspect of the Iron Man suit, in my opinion, is the shoes. You don't really see them that often, but they're like these incredible, kind of full-on power shoes. But I think the most interesting part about the suit is probably the glowing hand, and seeing how they do the glowing stuff in the eye. Because I assumed, in my sort of film naiveté, that you do all that stuff in post, but it actually glows on set and that's quite exciting.”

'Iron Man 3' is in cinemas now.

Published in Film
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 19:36

Nick One: Gangsta 101

Part of the local hip hop scene since the early 2000s with The Serenity, West End’s Nick One evokes the gangsta lifestyle so prevalent within the genre. Now he’s preparing to support The Godfather Of Hip Hop.

Paint a picture for the readers; who exactly is Nick One?
Nick One is that dude who rocks up to your party with a car full of bitches and unplugs the DJ’s shit and smashes you with the illest hits.

You produced Verbill’s latest EP, which won the Best EP at the recent Ozhiphop Awards. You must be chuffed with that result?
It was good to see our hard work recognised. Now I just gotta kick back, relax, and wait for the cheques to roll in.

What other production work do you have in the pipeline?
I got a sick gangsta track comin’ out from a Bronx rapper called Bigfoot, and I'm gonna make my own rap album, plus an instrumental EP. Prolly make some Hostile Takeover tracks soon.

Your approach to production; do you bring that classic hip hop sound to the table? 
Yeah, I just try to find some rare shit and chop it up with some fat drums behind it. I wanna learn how to make trap and dubstep next. Holla at me DJ Butcher.

Give us a few lines about West End and what it means to the local artistic community?
West End is a sick little community with all these different people doing shit; playing flutes and shit. Kebabs errrywhurr.
You’re on the bill to support Afrika Bambaataa — what was your first response when you heard about this news?
Definitely stoked to be playing at this gig. The first thing I did was send my tracksuit to the dry cleaners.

What are you planning for your DJ set?
I'm going to start that shit with a Bambaataa track and play through my favourite tracks from the history of hip hop, with New Years Steve tearing it up on the cut. I think Miss Karleena is gonna spit some bars too.

Personally, what does it mean to have the opportunity to perform on the same stage as The Godfather Of Hip Hop?
I have always wanted to play on the same bill as DJ Katch, so that's dope.

Nick One's hip hop roots — the early years? What really drew you into the culture?
“Straight outta Compton, a crazy motherfucker named Ice Cube, from a gang called Niggaz Wit Attitude.”

Hostile Takeover is a project you're working with Dubmarine’s DKazman — are the fruits of your labour ready to be devoured? 
Yeah man, it's all improvised shit at the moment, but we've accidentally made a few film clips so we would like to record something soon.

For the uninitiated, what does Hostile Takeover sound like? You enjoy setting ‘shit on fire’, right?
Hostile Takeover is that bass heavy trap and dubstep shit with DKazman wildin’ out on top. We got a carload of dancers, and at least two of those girls are crazy for lighting fires on stage, which is confusing ‘cause our beats are so hot that the soundsystem is already smokin’.

You’ve been on the scene for a decade plus, since your days with The Serenity; Brisbane hip hop compared to the early 2000s... what’s the Nick One point of view?
To be honest I think the shit used to be a lot cooler. A lot of angry dudes yelling at a sausage sizzle ain't really my idea of a good time. Hip hop is supposed to be fun, not about glassing people.  We bringing back that block party steez.

The rest of 2013 for Nick One; do you have much simmering on the hotplates?
2013 is the year of the Hostile Takeover. If you are having a party this year, expect us to come and wreck your shit. And drink your wine.
There are so many sub-genres of genres that have already been fractured — what's the new sound, style, flavour that's going to get kids going apeshit on dancefloors?
Twerk is my favourite shit right now, and DKazman talking to the aliens on those fucked up trap beats.

Nick One supports Afrika Bambaataa at the Hi-Fi Friday May 17.

Published in Urban
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 18:39

Smokescreen Music Festival: Up In Smoke

When buzz started circulating around Smokescreen Music Festival - the self-described 'most dangerous festival on earth' - last month, few could have predicted that it wasn't really a festival at all.

On World Health Day, the 'festival' was revealed to be an elaborate anti-smoking campaign cooked up by the Mushroom Group and the Australian National Preventive Health Agency [ANPHA], complete with fake headliners — The Coughin' Nails and M4-CEMA — and promotional videos.

Reaction to the reveal has been mixed, to say the least, but did Mushroom and ANPHA achieve what they set out to? I spoke to Mushroom Marketing Managing Director Carl Gardiner about the ins and outs of the campaign.

Why do you think the younger audience is so difficult to reach, when it comes to anti-smoking messages?

I'm not sure they're all that difficult to reach. And by that, I mean there's a lot of pretty savvy media people, and different channels to get to them. But we thought this was a way to use a different part of the entertainment spectrum to get to them. I'm certainly not suggesting that Smokescreen, on its own, is going to make a huge difference.

But the good thing with ANPHA is that they're open to looking at new and different ways.

We still have our traditional media and marketing channels, I'll call them mainstream channels, which I do think can work to generate quite a bit of awareness. But in this case, if someone asked me what we're really trying to do here, what we're trying to do is to get people to think a little bit about the potential negative health effects of smoking, and try to do it in a way that deglamourises smoking a bit. It's just trying to raise the subject again, probably to the same market, but in a different way.

They might have seen the anti-smoking ads on television, they'd probably be aware of some of the messages on the packets - it's pretty hard to ignore them - but we're raising the topic in a different way. It's another one of the many-and-varied touch points that, hopefully, over a period of time, convince more young people [to give up], if they are still smoking or considering taking up smoking ... it's another link in the chain that hopefully changes their behaviour.

Did you expect there'd be a backlash when it was announced there wasn't going to be a festival?

Yes, I did. The way we've done this whole campaign, if one looks at the wording we've used and the iconography, there's no doubt that some people, early on, thought this was a real festival. There's no question the people that did would have been disappointed to find out that, in fact, it wasn't.

Part of our teaser campaign to raise awareness for this was to create some speculation, and that certainly happened, to the point where [Mushroom Group Chairman] Michael Gudinski was contacted by certain band managers wanting to know if their bands could be on the bill. Those people, understandably, would then have a right to be a little bit upset when they found out this wasn't a real festival. At the same time, we thought that to use music iconography and that sort of speculation to raise awareness about the negative consequences of smoking... we thought it was worthwhile to do that.  

Do you think Smokescreen has been an efficient and effective use of funding?

Oh, look, I'm a bit biased, Rohan, but I'm going to say yes! Look, in regards to your question, we haven't done all that analysis yet. We'll certainly be doing that at the culmination of the project. There are certain elements of this project that are quite readily measurable, in terms of the metrics available, and then there are broader, general awareness elements. As I said earlier, it's very much the sum of the parts. And also, unquestionably, this is a pretty different, innovative approach to generate awareness.

Certainly, once we look through the overall project at the end of the process, I'm sure we're going to see certain areas and think, 'Look, that worked more successfully and got the message out in a more effective way than that did'. We won't know that until we sit down and look at the final analysis.

For more info, head to smokescreenfestival.com.au

Published in Rock
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