Items filtered by date: June 2013
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 17:21

Halo 4 DVDs

Based on the record-breaking fourth instalment of the Halo video game series, ‘Halo 4 Forward Unto The Dawn’ is the first ever full-length live-action feature for the Halo franchise.

From the writers of TV’s ‘Spartacus: Blood And Sand’ and ‘Smallville’, and starring Australian actor Tom Green (‘Beneath Hill 60’) and Anna Popplewell (‘The Chronicles Of Narnia’) ‘Halo 4 Forward Unto The Dawn’ also includes 60 minutes of special features as well as 30 minutes of never-before-seen footage.

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Published in Competition
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 16:19

Seussical: Theatre In Preview

The historical magic of Dr. Seuss will be reinvigorated for Australian audiences, as ‘Seussical’ transforms the popular children’s books into a musical extravaganza.

Unless you've been living under a rock since the early 1900s, you'll be familiar with the entertaining and quirky mind of Dr. Seuss, whose tales have reached audiences across the globe since their inception. Now — with the help of the Brisbane Arts Theatre — the same stories that warmed young hearts for decades will take to the stage and take on all new meaning with Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's adaptation. Chris Vagg, who will assume the role of Cat in the Hat, has nothing but praise for the production.

“It was the idea of Paje Battilana, the children’s theatre coordinator, and Ron Kelly the artistic director. It's basically been an initiative of those two, who wanted to bring children’s theatre into the main spotlight. The costumes are colourful, the music is great and the cast is fantastic.”

The show weaves together characters from more than 15 Seuss books, but essentially follows Horton the Elephant, who discovers the planet of Whoville on a dust speck, and vows to prevent its destruction. It’s like treading in unknown water for Vagg, who has tackled more serious roles in the past particularly with the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble.

“I've never done a musical before, so there a few challenges as an actor. Being tasked with multiple roles and quick changes are very different to what I'm used to, as well as the singing, since there's almost no dialogue in the musical. Laraine Griffiths, the director, said from the get-go that it's pretty much like a rock opera. Don't forget it's all in rhyme too.”

The production hasn’t opened yet, but there’s already lots of attention focused on ‘Seussical’.

“We haven't opened the show here yet and already a primary school wants to have a matinée on a Friday, we don't do that usually on a weekday but they said they could sell it out and they did. There's a couple of schools where we will drop in to do some promotional work at their parade with a bit of song and dance. I'm not much of a musical person myself, but for musical people, it's something they really appreciate and love.”

Vagg's role has previously been played by a range of well known actors overseas, something he can't help but chuckle at.

“It's toured throughout the UK and US, and there's been several star performances in it. The sort of 'butch' cop in ‘Reno 911’ has played the Cat in the Hat. So it seems to me the role is sort of a celebrity one. Rosie O'Donnell has done it and Eric Idle from Monty Python was the original actor as well.”

All in all, the exploration of the Seuss universe is one not to miss. Vagg is ready to roll up his sleeves and don the red and white hat for the month-long run of shows.

“It's the first time the [Brisbane] Arts Theatre has put a kids’ show on the main stage. Usually a children’s show will run through the school holidays, during the day and on weekends. They're running this one Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, and two matinées on the weekend, so they're viewing it as a children’s crossover.”

Seussical will appear at The Brisbane Arts Theatre from June 22 until July 20.

Published in Theatre
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 16:11

Spanish Film Festival: Opening Night Review

Sangria. Coronas. Paella. And an irresistible Spanish film — welcome to the opening night of the Spanish Film Festival.

Within minutes of arrival, the unmistakable and beautiful sound of Spanish tongues dancing from one person to the next filled the foyer. The Sangria already flowing and glasses clinking, while an effortlessly romantic Spanish guitar seduced the crowd. This is the 16th time the Spanish Film Festival has come to Brisbane and the opening night film certainly didn’t disappoint. 'A Gun in Each Hand', is a cracker — witty, clever and enthralling.

A film about love, sex, heartbreak, men and women; it focuses on the changing and evolving gender roles in contemporary Spanish society. Hilarious one minute and achingly poignant the next, the film leaves its viewer a little breathless and not without food for thought. Random encounters between old friends and acquaintances; conversations between ex-lovers and potential new lovers, each scene unchains a scintillating, sensual and scandalous reality — lies, affairs, lost love, desire — these truths and are all uncovered as we are taken into the lives of these characters. And in this film, the women are firmly in control and the men left blushing and somewhat baffled. This is a battle of the sexes Spanish style and boy, do the Spaniards know how to do it.

Featuring films from Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Peru, if the opening night of the festival is anything to go by, Brisbane is in for a real treat over the next ten days and this trip to Spain is sure to delight.

The Spanish Film Festival is showing at Palace Centro Cinemas until June 23. Click here to head over to Scenestr to see all the social photos from the opening night.

Published in Film
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 16:04

Salon: Dance In Preview

Accept the invitation and treat your senses to a spectacle of theatrical wonder. Step into the Salon.

Inspired by the iconic Marchesa Luisa Casati and decadence of Salons in early 20th century Europe, this premier production will take its audience on a magical journey of the bohemian divine.
This showcase of physical feats and soaring vocals is led by breathtaking pop-art diva Michelle Xen and Neon Wild, in collaboration with seven of Brisbane’s best physical, circus and dance performers.

Creator and choreographer, Timothy Brown drew inspiration from the inner workings of Salons in eras past, where aristocrats and prominent artists would congregate to reveal the next new thing in arts and culture.

“The salon needs to be revived,” he says. “It’s has always been around, since the early days however it has existed in various forms, but should always be noted and celebrated.”

Timothy describes the show as one of seduction, where audiences will be romanced by its daring and talented cast, which includes 'that pole guy' Travis Scott performing his craft.

“Male pole-dancing is a new genre; I think Travis is one of a kind in that field. When he’s entered burlesque competitions in the past, he'd usually be the only male in them. I think Salon has an element of gender-bending in the sense that we play not necessarily androgyny, but the feminine and the masculine going either way, the whole cast really mixes it up. I wanted to create a show that was not just one niche audience but for a wide audience.”

When speaking of the other cast members Timothy says it's actually really hard to get all them into the one room.

“It’s amazing, the cast have a crazy schedule themselves so they're always at different gigs and travelling around, so getting them all together is a huge achievement. When they do come together they’re a bag of laughs, they can often be a bit crazy and crude, but I love them. They bring rawness, because their performances particularly, are in the moment and spontaneous. I love when they push themselves and do technically amazing and somewhat scary things at times. They do go out on a limb and do some crazy things, and definitely give it their all. 'Salon' has an element of spontaneity and improvisation and as much as I try and make things really exact and choreographed, they sometimes bust out of that.”

When asked what the audience can expect Timothy says as well as a cast full of exhibitionists, there are many different technical components.

“We have a swinging pole, we have a live band, a magic mirror portal A.V. component and our set designer Rosina Sullivan is an installation artist and she'll be creating hanging chandelier art. So come and have fun, be open, have a drink before or during at your own table.”

One thing the audience can expect is that during the show, one of the cast members will have an inspirational moment and spontaneously cast a little play of their own, with an invitation for the audience to play a role.Timothy says there are possibilities that 'Salon' will tour in the future.

“We would love to tour further. I'm actually just in talks with the Judith Wright producer and they are very keen to produce the show beyond the Judy.”

'Salon' has been supported by the Judith Wright Centre’s new Fresh Ground Space program and is a must-see show for fans of the extravagant, the erotic, exotic, exquisite and bold.

'Salon' plays at The Judith Wright Centre Of Contemporary Arts from Saturday June 22 to Saturday June 29.

Published in Dance
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 15:59

Bliss N Eso: The Journey So Far

There was a time in Australia when hip hop was so unheard of you’d be lucky to find one hip hop album in a CD store, let alone a whole section.

It was during this time that Jonathon Notley (Bliss) moved from America and met Max MacKinnon (Eso), the only other guy in their high school to know what it was.

“I was growing up in the States and everyone in school was into hip hop so I was just immersed in it. It just so happened when I came over in high school, only one other guy in the entire school knew what hip hop was and that was Eso, so we became friends,” Notley says.

MacKinnon later met Tarik Ejjamai (DJ Izm), which Notley describes as “the missing piece of the puzzle” and the three formed Bliss N Eso.

From rehearsing in Ejjamai’s lounge room opposite a blank wall to performing in front of thousands of people, their journey so far has lead to the impending release of their latest album, ‘Circus In The Sky’.

“It’s a very diverse sounding record, lots of different moods, themes, topics and soundscapes. We are all about variety when we make our albums, we like to take the listener on a journey but still maintain a cohesive record where all the songs fit together. This one in particular has expanded and evolved a little more on that whole philosophy. We’ve collaborated with quite a few different artists [including Nas, Drapht, Seth Sentry, 360, Pez, Sarah Blasko, Emma Louise and comedian Alex Williamson] on this one to paint this kind of metaphor … it’s all these sounds, artists, collaborators and vibes all coming together to paint this amazing circus in the sky.”

From an early stage the guys were adamant about keeping a relentless touring schedule, travelling to places in Australia that hip hop had never been before.

“We’ve been touring for years now and some of the tracks have been in the playlist for a long time. Some of them we’re giving a little break to make way for some of the new songs on ‘Circus In The Sky’ to come through. This is the first time we’ve ever played these songs so we’re pretty excited, it’s always great when you’ve got a whole bank of new material.”

Bliss N Eso play a sold out show at Eatons Hill Hotel Friday July 12. ‘Circus In The Sky’ is available June 28.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 15:49

Masta Ace: Live Review

Brisbane was freezing on Saturday night as a modest crowd packed into the upstairs room at the Transcontinental to see legendary Brooklyn MC Masta Ace.

Up first were local supports Exit Strategy and Sus One, who entertained the small but vocal crowd and got things ready for Kings Konekted who were plugging their latest EP, ‘The Campaign’. KK have been making moves in recent months and this is not lost on the punters who give them a raucous reception. Coming up toward midnight DJ Marco Polo hits the stage before the headliner, playing tracks off his new LP including the Gangstarr tribute ‘G.U.R.U.’ that went down well.

Masta Ace hit the stage next and the intensity level was turned up a notch as people made the way to the floor. Ace, along with his rhyme partner Stricklin, made their mark early with tracks from his latest album, ‘Son Of Yvonne’, getting an early airing along with Ace’s classic verses from Marley Marl’s ‘The Symphony’ and Crooklyn Dodger’s ‘Crooklyn’. The night took a somewhat surreal turn in the middle of the set with a mystery mic being turned on somewhere and someone actually rapping inaudibly over the top.  DSC6583
It only took a couple of minutes for the show to restart with Ace joking about “The curse of the wack MC”, and going in to ‘Sitting On Chrome’ from 1995’s effort of the same name. The show was interactive with plenty of banter from Ace and Stricklin, who were happy to take requests throughout making sure Ace’s entire career was covered from ‘Take A Look Around’ all the way through to his MC work.

While the sound wasn’t the best due to the massive hole in the middle of the floor where the stairs are located, Masta Ace’s personality and skill shone through, creating a warm vibe to counter the chill coming from outside and giving Brisbane a solid night of hip hop we don’t get to see to often.

 DSC6538

Photos: Andrew Garden

Published in Urban

1. VP Records (Jamaica, Queens). VP is one of the biggest reggae, dub and dancehall labels in the world and this shop shows it. Massive amounts of 45”s and loads of albums. The shopkeepers will also select tunes for you — just call out when you like one you hear, and they will put it aside. Big ups.

2. Miss Lily's Variety Store (Manhattan). A great shop for reggae, dub and dancehall vinyl, with a Jamaican style restaurant and milkbar nestled right next door. They also have a live-to-air radio station right inside the shop, right alongside almost every version of Sleng Teng you could dare to name on wax.

3. Arena Records (Brooklyn). Although Williamsburg is nauseatingly hipster'd these days, it's still nice to head into Arena and search through massive amounts of old hip hop 12”s. And for three or four bucks a pop, it's worth it for the big boombap sound that somehow digital mediums fail to capture.

4. Deadly Dragon Records (Chinatown). A pokey little store filled floor to ceiling with vinyl rarities and cool books. These folks also run regular reggae nights around the city as well. Google Grace of Spades.

5. Shrine (Harlem). Ok, so this place is actually a jazz and world music live venue, but the ceiling is covered with record covers which looks rad. Among them all I actually spotted Men At Work's 'Business As Usual', which is probably one of the most boring record covers ever, but still made it up there. I guess on the strength of ‘Land Down Under’?

New Dub City have new single, ‘New World Order’, available now; it was produced by Ali MC and mixed by Wayne ‘Lotek’ Bennett. newdubcity.com

Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 14:52

Fear Factory: Revisiting The Machine

In 1995, Fear Factory released ‘Demanufacture’ and effectively rewrote the course of heavy metal history.

Yes, the band had released music beforehand, but it wasn't until 'Demanufacture' landed that Fear Factory hit full-stride. Its concoction of machine-gun riffage, industrial samples and bipolar shifts from throaty screams to gothic melodies remains influential 18 years later. Now, for the first time ever, Fear Factory are touring the record in its entirety, and their destination is Australia.

“Dino [Cazares] and I both feel that it was Australia that really embraced Fear Factory wholeheartedly from the very beginning,” vocalist Burton C. Bell says. “It was Australia that gave us our first silver album for 'Demanufacture' so we felt that Australia was the [place] to do it.”

Inspired by films like 'The Terminator' and 'RoboCop', perhaps what makes 'Demanufacture' such a seminal release is that it was the first of many concept albums about Burton's futuristic visions of man versus machine.

“I pulled the whole concept together after the record was done when I was asked to write what each song meant. The media was telling me to write what each song was about, [but] instead of writing what each song was about, I sat down and just created a story about this individual fighting against machines. The machine wasn't necessarily a physical machine –  it was a metaphor for the establishment.”

According to Burton, the ultra-aggressive nature of 'Demanufacture' was also inspired by a chaotic moment in time.

“When we started writing 'Demanufacture', it was during a really temperamental era in Los Angeles. It was during the Rodney King trial and subsequently the LA riots. You could feel the stress; you could feel the anger throughout the entire city and the tension was just unbelievable.”

Recording 'Demanufacture' wasn't all doom and gloom. There was also the chance encounter with Bon Jovi who was at the same studio.

“The Bon Jovi thing was funny because I remember a story where Rhys [Fulber, assistant producer] was out in the hallway on the phone and he saw this guy walking by, and he said, 'hey man, can you go grab me a sandwich'? And it was Bon Jovi!”

Fear Factory plays 'Demanufacture' at The Tivoli Thursday July 4.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 14:42

Seja: Wired

With more than a decade of experience across multiple bands, Seja is finally ready to take on the world on her own.

The Brisbane synth artist may be recognised from her work with Regurgitator and Sekiden, but with one solo album already to her name, Seja has shaken the stage fright that plagued her in her early years.

“When I first started in Sekiden I was just a kid, I was terrified of everything and a painfully shy kid. I remember before we played a show I was mortified that we would have to play live, I would just stare at my fingers. I definitely feel like I've become more confident as a performer.”

Her debut album, ‘We Have Secrets But Nobody Cares’, was a more personal affair, centred around vintage analogue synthesizers. But upcoming release ‘All Our Wires’ is set to go beyond the synth-centric sound.

“The last album that I did was predominately on keyboards – an ode to the analogue synthesizer and with this one I wanted a fuller sound, I used some acoustic instruments as well in the hope of expanding my sound a little bit.

“But the main thing was just to make an album. I put a lot of thought into the writing, the recordings – it was a much bigger effort, both physically and emotionally than the first one.”
Although she finds the solo path to be more fulfilling, Seja now admits there are more obstacles in her way.

“It's definitely more challenging. With Sekiden, Simon [Graydon] is an incredibly prolific songwriter who just shoots out pop gems everyday. So with that band, I wasn't the boss of anything and I liked it that way, I got used to only having to make a few decisions. But now I have to make every decision and even the smallest decision like ‘what do I want this guitar to sound like’ or ‘what do I want the toms like’ – I have no idea about drums!”

Though there is nothing set in stone yet, Seja hopes to see many cities in the wake of the release.

“Hopefully I'll be doing lots of touring. I'll be doing a real little tour for the album launches and then doing lots of shows, I hope. I'm really looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen because I feel like I know just a little bit more now.”

Seja plays Black Bear Lodge June 23. ‘All Our Wires’ is out June 21.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 14:35

Dick Desert: Drugs, Punk And Radio Play

If you’re familiar with the country punk genre — and you watch ‘Breaking Bad’ — then the creations of Dick Desert will be right up your alley.

Nearing the ten-year anniversary of his musical endeavours, Dick has a lot up his sleeve, including radio serial 'A Truckers Missus Opera', which details a day in the life of a foul-mouthed, meth cooking trucker’s broad.

“The characters in it are mostly based around people I grew up with around Warwick. The typical meth cooking, farmer’s wife – essentially I've had more to do with bikers and farmer’s wives than truckers — but as you may know those cultures do overlap,” Dick says.

There’s no sleep for the wicked, with Dick staying busy with a number of other projects.

“I've been working on new music with my other band, the Desert Blues Cartel, and also a cabaret with Lola the Vamp which is gonna kick off later in the year in Spiegeltent down in Melbourne. So I've been writing music for that, which is all period piece music from the last couple of hundred years.”

Dick’s Desert Blues will also be taking part in Fete de la Musique this Friday, an opportunity he says is fantastic.

“It's putting us in front of an audience that we don't usually get to promote to. Usually we're playing in dodgy bars and clubs late at night, rather than out on the street, so we're looking forward to that and seeing how it all rolls over. I just like the concept of it ... a festival that's running simultaneously around the world and so forth. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, being a part of the international community.”

‘A Truckers Missus Opera’ final show broadcasts this Friday June 21 at 7.45am on 4ZZZ. The Desert Blues Cartel play Fete de la Musique Southbank (3.30pm) and the Queen Street Mall (5.30pm) on Friday June 21 and The Black Bear Lodge Saturday June 22.

Published in Rock

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