Items filtered by date: September 2013
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 15:11

The Wizard Of Oz: Theatre In Preview

This world premiere adaption of 'The Wizard Of Oz' will take us on a memorable trip down the yellow brick road, but it's not the yellow brick road that you might remember.

“It's funny, every time I tell someone that I am in 'The Wizard Of Oz' they're like 'oh I love that movie, I love that story’, and I'm like 'yeaaah but it's not as you know it — this [performance] is an investigation into the dream of 'The Wizard Of Oz', the memory of 'The Wizard Of Oz'.”

Polly Sara, who plays the Wicked Witch, warns audiences that this adaption of the original is anything but traditional.

"How do we compete with what is a very famous and well-known story, movie, and musical? No matter if you've seen it or not, I feel like the story is filtered into our consciousness."

This is a co-production between La Boîte, Brisbane Festival and the Danger Ensemble. They have worked closely together to create a performance which explores the modern memory of a traditional story. Narratives such as 'The Wizard Of Oz' are "an avenue for [people] to believe in the fantastical … it facilitates a way of dreaming … there is a collective dreaming, a cultural dreaming which is what I think [our adaption] 'Oz' is … it's a conscious investigation, a [live] argument or conversation with the story itself," Polly exclaims.

Director, Steven Mitchell Wright describes the performance as a “fantastical world of couture-clad witches and bondage-bound munchkins, in a land where high-fashion-visual-art-show-meets-Australiana in an explosion of glitter, glory, and goddamn rainbows".

The fundamental themes of 'Oz' are certainly drawn from L. Frank Baum's original novel and the famous 1939 film (starring Judy Garland). The difference is Wright depicts the story of 'Judy G', an Aussie 'diva who dreams of being lifted up and out of her caravan park to be reunited with her beloved Oz', rather than Kansas-local Dorothy who gets sucked up into a tornado and is then dispersed into the magical land of Oz.

When asked to put the Danger Ensemble's adaption of 'The Wizard Of OZ' into a genre, Polly laughs. "I couldn't! I think that's something that I find interesting about the Danger Ensemble's [performances] … Is it theatre? Is it performance? Is it something else? I find that exciting because it means that it's not just sticking to form … we're inventing and we're reinventing different forms.”

If one thing is for sure, there is a comedic aspect to the performance.

“We're not necessarily or obviously going 'this is the moment where the people will laugh'. But I think [that because] we're dealing with a story that was made in the early 1900s, and the film which was produced in the '30s — you watch the movie, and it's hilarious — it's hilarious because it's outdated."

'The Wizard Of Oz' was solely created for the Brisbane Festival, and has never been performed before.

“This show is bound to be the standout of this year's Brisbane Festival,” La Boîte Artistic Director David Berthold praises.

The cast is feeling the pressure, but not because of the show's high expectations. Instead, Polly explains that "as a performer, you're always feeling pressure and … that's because the vision and the dream is so big that it's less about presenting it at the festival but more about wanting to do justice to the work. I know where we are headed and I just want to get there. But pressure is good because it means you care about the work.”

Polly is also keen to get the show on the stage.

"I'm really excited to present this work and to see what the audience has to bring to the work as well. You need the audience to be there and to have the last and most important voice in the work. So that's what I'm itching for — to have their voice be part of our work as well.

“But until then, it's heads down and bums up.”

'The Wizard Of Oz' hits La Boite's Roundhouse Theatre from Sep 7 to 28 as part of Brisbane Festival.

Published in Theatre
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 15:05

Dizzy: Hypnotism In Preview

Don't let his name fool you — being hypnotised by Dizzy won't leave you feeling dazed and confused.
 
Instead, Dizzy’s performances have been likened to being spellbound by a magician, with each strike of his wand casting a smile upon his volunteer's faces. 

“I think the difference between me and another comedy hypnotist is that I don't want to humiliate people on the stage,” Dizzy explains.

“I want them coming away with a positive experience if they volunteer. But when the crowd sees the guys up on stage I want them to be entertained as well.”

Dizzy was taught the tricks of the trade by some of the best in the world. With that said, he doesn't seem to fear breaking the hypnotist's code.

“It's just an altered stage of consciousness … I just relax people and then people basically are more susceptible to suggestion under hypnosis.

“I introduce them to their favourite movie stars and they get to dance with their favourite movie stars. They go through a body building competition and pretend they’re body builders.”

That's not to say people don't genuinely believe they're living a second identity after being enchanted by Dizzy.

“In one of my skits I get people to believe they're on a Jamaican beach in a booty-shaking competition and the prize is one million dollars.

“At the end of one my shows … I told the girl that 'won the competition' that when I clapped my hands one million dollars was going to fall from the sky, and she just screamed out loud ...  She really believed she won one million dollars.”

It also seems that being hypnotised by Dizzy's is the perfect way to forget about the daily grind.

“A lot of people work really hard during the week and they want to just let go, but if you really want to let go, then hypnosis is the ultimate way.”

Dizzy is part of the Brisbane Fringe Festival at the Spring Hill Hotel from Sep 6- 7.

Published in Comedy
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 15:02

Kelly Sue DeConnick: Brisbane Writers Festival

Three years ago, most comic book readers wouldn't have heard of Kelly Sue DeConnick.

Today, she's a big enough name in the industry to be invited to the Brisbane Writers Festival. But like virtually all ‘overnight successes’, there was nothing too rapid about DeConnick’s rise — long before she was writing top titles like 'Avengers Assemble' and 'Captain Marvel' for Marvel Comics, she cut her teeth adapting countless manga volumes for US publishers.

“I edited or adapted more than 11,000 pages of dialogue before I moved to primarily doing my own work,” DeConnick explains. “It made me very dialogue focused and gave me a perspective on the visuals of language — similar, I  suspect, to what an apprentice letterer might pick up.”

Since her focus shifted to her own scripts, DeConnick has worked with some of the industry's most talented artists (most notably Emma Rios, with whom DeConnick is developing a creator-owned project, 'Pretty Deadly'). Each collaboration has its own challenges and rewards.

“Pages NEVER come back exactly as I imagined them,” DeConnick says. “For one thing, I don't really imagine pages as a whole (rare for a comic writer, I'm told, but true). I sort of feel and hear my way through a page. Visuals are my partner's job. I do my best to give  them what they need from me and  then get out of the way. So, yes, pages are always a certain surprise and  that's  part of the joy of this process.”

At the moment, DeConnick's fans have multiple opportunities to enjoy her work each month — a state of affairs they should probably enjoy while it lasts.

“I'm too slow,” DeConnick laments. “I've gotten faster over the last year, but I don't know that I'm getting faster fast enough. I may end up having to leave monthly comics for that very reason. There are people who can produce four to six scripts a month and keep the quality up. For whatever reason, I am not one of them.

“The only thing that gives me any comfort there is that several other of my favorite comic book writers have had the same issue and gone on to do interesting things.”

Kelly Sue DeConnick appears at the Brisbane Writers Festival from Friday Sep 6 to Sunday Sep 8.

Published in Writing/ Poetry
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 14:47

Naysayer & Gilsun: Control Freaks

Production duo and late night curators Naysayer & Gilsun are releasing a new EP and hitting the road with an AV spectacular that’s both simple and absurd.

“We are going to use this tour to throw in a lot of new stuff, with material that hasn’t been used in any kind of mixtape or live performance before, so there will be a lot of things that people haven’t seen as well as taking stuff we’ve used before which we will either pair with new music or re-cut it to give it some kind of new life,” says Gilsun, who makes up half of the electronic whiz kid pair.

“There will be a lot of fresh stuff in there!”

After bonding over a shared love of music and film in high school, Melbourne’s Naysayer & Gilsun began producing/ DJing together at the tender age of 16, graduating from sweaty house parties to the clubs with their own unique pairing of deep electronic music and live visuals lifted from new wave French obscurities to Hollywood blockbusters, precisely edited to create a visual experience that is totally immersive.

“We try to find visual samples from films that people inherently recognise, but instead of going for the quote or the moment that everyone associates with a particular film or TV show, we try to light up a section of the brain that’s not instantly recognisable. So rather than creating simple links between a person and the film, we want them to feel like they are recalling a dream instead, like tapping into a weird cultural de ja vu.”

The pair’s new EP, ‘All That Good Work/Blue’, is a follow-up to last year’s acclaimed debut single ‘In Mind’, and is being released through Club Mod instead of the boys’ own label Bossman Records.

“The response for ‘In Mind’ was really positive so I guess that gave us a lot less to be nervous about when putting original music out into the world. We’re control freaks, so the first single was great to release ourselves, but now we’re doing so many projects at once that it’s a lot healthier having other people controlling it and giving guidance that far exceeds our expertise.”

The EP is described as an interplay between organic and digital sounds that taps into feelings of self-analysis and anxiety.

“It’s a hard one to explain, but we try and strike a balance between sounds that are inherently natural, like ambient noises from a natural environment, with obviously digital and electronic sources coming from a laptop or synthesizer and try and find a middle point between those two feelings.”

‘All That Work’ is still a surface level party track, but it reflects the darker emotions that were current to their lives at the time of writing.

“We try to be honest with what we’re producing, so for awhile there was a lot of material that, whilst it wouldn’t have seemed obvious on the outside, was generally quite dark. Most of the show is obsessed with very universal feelings or experiences of fantasy as a teenager and evolving sexuality.”

Whether it’s DJing or playing an AV show, the boys really look forward to the communal experience they find in front of an audience.

“The rush of happiness doesn’t come from how proud we are of the music but from playing it for people who enjoy it!”

‘All That Work/Blue’ comes out September 9. Naysayer & Gilsun play Alhambra September 21.

Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 14:42

Tkay Maidza: Big Aspirations

Gaining momentum from two catchy collaborations with producer, Bad Cop, and an upcoming performance at Bigsound, Tkay Maidza has her eyes set on dominating the Australian hip hop scene.

“I have a collaboration with Dcup. That was the other week. My people know his people and he said, 'Hey, do you want to be on this song' and I was just like, 'Okay'. Bad Cop and I are working on a couple more [collaborations]. Hopefully they'll be done soon as well and I've been working with a couple of other producers.”

Tkay will be performing her latest release, 'Brontosaurus', and a few new tracks at Bigsound.

“The producer I was working with, Bad Cop, he made the beat and he kind of just said 'Do whatever' and then we came up with the concept of stomping your feet like a brontosaurus. It happened pretty organically.”

Any hip hop fans attending Bigsound should put Tkay on their 'must see' list as she describes her set as an eclectic fusion of hip hop styles.

“We're working on lighting and all that stuff but the whole set list is pretty much a whole lot of random beats. There's dubstep and there's hip hop and trap music so it's pretty crazy.”

At first listen, you might think Tkay's brand of hip hop is reminiscent of performers like Azealia Banks or Nicki Minaj, but it's Tkay's foreign flavour that distances her from the crowd.

“In other genres you have so many similar singers but they don't have competition, why should female rappers have competition? It's kind of annoying, but you know, I don't mind. It's like a compliment, I guess, if I'm compared to them, because they're pretty amazing.”

Tkay began her career in music two years ago, and it seems the only force working against the singer is her age.

“I think people look at me as a child like 'She doesn't really know what she wants at the moment',” Tkay explains.

But with her first EP being released on iTunes in late October and multiple collaborations under her belt, all systems are a go for this hip hop princess-in-waiting.

Tkay Maidza plays Bigsound at Oh Hello Wednesday September 11.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 14:29

Classik Nawu: Bring The Sun Out

Culturally diverse Brisbane band Classik Nawu are set to perform at the Brisbane Festival’s opening ceremony.

"Nawu — that's [a word from] the Western Island language of the Torres Straits and it means 'song'," Tony Ghee, the group’s bassist explains.
And 'Classik'? "We want the songs to be remembered, from [one generation] to the next. That's a classic."

After performing at last year’s Brisbane Festival, Classik Nawu will return for the opening ceremony as well as performing at the Festival's 'after-dark hot spot', Wunder Bar, alongside bands such as Darky Roots and Dubmarine.

The five-piece collective originate from the remote Torres Strait communities of Thursday Island and Murray Island. With group members having been based in Brisbane for over six years, Tony explains that "the band was not formed until about two years ago".

“Two of the boys were doing a course at TAFE and they decided to get together and put something together. Then one of the other boys, he came onboard with his musical creativity... and they started writing things and they created music that was different yet really happy and up-tempo ... I came onboard when they lost their bass player ... For me, being an older person in the group... ‘cause I grew up on Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Al Jarreau, the old school style of music, coming in to this hip hop, funk style of [music], I didn't really like until I started playing it.

And playing that different style and seeing people really enjoying what these young fellas do, I started thinking ‘oh well this is not bad at all, I actually like this’. So I am actually really enjoying it now, I am actually loving it – I'm challenged, it's challenging.”

Classik Nawu have been touring extensively, receiving support from all corners of the state.

"We played last year at the Woodford Folk Festival … It was really good to see people respond to our style of music. One of the older folks that was there actually walked up and said, 'you know what, you guys have been a breath of fresh air for Woodford. We love your sound … everybody gets up and starts dancing'.”

Classik Nawu play The Brisbane Festival opening night, South Bank, Sep 7 and The QPAC Wunder Bar Sep 11. Their new EP, ‘Hipfunkfresh’, is out now.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 14:11

Bobby Alu: Setting Sail

Island soul, Afro rhythmic artist Bobby Alu and his band are about to embark on a 21-date tour around Australia, including a special sunset cruise album launch party on the Brisbane River.

The Lady Brisbane is an unusual venue for an album launch.

“I wanted to do a launch in Brisbane because I have always played here. I kind of wasn't really feeling many of the venues. I love The Zoo but it’s in the Valley and the Valley can be real scary on Friday and Saturday nights... well, actually, it's just a bloody zoo.

“And then in West End I really like the Hi-Fi but it's kind of just a bit big and [has a] sort of stale vibe. And then I just got talking with the band mates and two of the guys – Paulie and Stu — years ago used to do boat cruises when they were first getting into music. The idea just came up that it would suit the vibe. [The cruise] is afternoon/ early evening. We just thought we'd give it a shot. It's what this music is about – floating slowly in the water. We had the idea and looked around and it all worked out.”

Brisbane is blessed to be the only town (so far) to host Bobby Alu on a river cruise.

"[The cruise] is the first one [we've done] and we hope it goes really well and if so, we'll do more. And the response has been really good so I reckon we'll do more but so far Brisbane is the only one."

With their album due for release September 13, the band will be performing at a number of venues across Australia as well as performing at several festivals.

"The festival vibe … [was] what got me really interested in performing music … people lose their inhibitions and leave everything behind for the weekend and they're free and can just have fun … and then wake up with a bad hangover on Monday but it doesn't matter.”

Alongside his own September to November tour, Bobby will also be performing alongside Xavier Rudd and Donovan Frankenreiter as part of their national tour. Bobby recently returned from touring with Rudd in America and Canada.

"I played in New York for the first time, and there was a show in Canada that 20,000 people rocked up to. It was really great … [Xavier Rudd is] an amazing guy and I've never met anyone like him.

"We were playing in LA and it was just a crazy world world to be in. I was sitting backstage with him and then I hear a knock on the door and open it and Michael Franti just walks in and sits down. It's a crazy little world and I was really grateful to be on tour with [Xavier] and I'm really looking forward to the next one."

With little time to recover from the Xavier Rudd North American sojourn, Bobby is already looking ahead to his own tour.

"We're excited! Touring can be hard but it's such a great thing to do, you get to see different places and you get to hang out in different cities. It's a bit of a luxury. Quite a lot of people are stuck being at home, [but with touring] being able to travel and do stuff that you love is a real blessing. We're all happy and stoked to be able to do that. We're just looking forward to sharing the new album … sharing it across the nation!"

'Take It Slow' was produced by one of the band members, Paulie B.

"He's been producing records for years. So it kind of made sense to record it with him. Just like the title suggests, we really did take it slow. We just let the music organically come out through live shows and all our jamming. And it was really quite easy — all of a sudden it was finished … it wasn't that much of a struggle, which reflects the cruisiness of the album."

Bobby Alu’s ‘Take It Slow’ boat cruise album launch party takes place Sept 21 departing Mowbray Park and Brett’s Wharf Hamilton. they also play Currmbin RSL Sept 20,  Hotel Brunswick Sept 22, Caloundra Festival oct 6 and Island Vibe Festival Oct 25-27. 'Take It Slow' is released Sept 13.

Published in Reggae/ Roots
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 13:58

The Story So Far: #notsodifferent

The music biz can be a tough nut to crack.

Maybe that's the ethos behind a name like The Story So Far; the band is a work in progress, and always will be. Bassist Kelen Capener is driving around his hometown when I call him, not going anywhere in particular. The aimless meander has given him time to think; his unassuming California drawl relays observations more akin to memos scratched into notes on the fridge than actual epitaphs of thought.

"I'm actually sitting here now in my car in Walnut Creek. It's evolved a lot since I grew up here. It's just a nice neighbourhood, it's not a place where you worry about being out."

I ask if people would recognise him if he stopped the car and got out, to which Kelen laughs.

"That only happened to me for the first time the other day. I went to the store to pick up a few things and someone came up to me and was like, ‘Hey man, you're from The Story So Far’. That was kind of weird, I was just shopping for jalapeños.

“Then the other day we were visiting Kevin's girlfriend, she works in downtown Walnut Creek. She gave me this hot chocolate and I was joking, I was like , ‘Yo, what if I just poured this on this kid's head right here?’ Later that kid tweeted that he'd walked by me, so it's a good thing I didn't!"

If you're holding a copy of The Story So Far's latest LP between your claws you'll notice there’s a guy on the cover, and that he's in a bit of a predicament. The album's entitled ‘What You Don't See’ and, not quite ironically, giant, spike-ridden vines are growing out of his eyes.

"Jordan from New Found Glory came up with that interpretation. In the original sketch there was fire coming out of his eyes, but I don't know if that's what we were going for. But we just gave [Jordan] the creative liberty to do it, we didn't really have time to seek art from anyone else. He really did us a huge favour."

The Story So Far play Soundwave at RNA Showgrounds Saturday February 22. soundwavefestival.com

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 13:51

Twelve Foot Ninja: Top Five Games

1. ‘Halo Reach’. Russ and I started playing ‘Halo’ when the first Xbox came out. We used to carry TVs around to each others houses and have epic death matches, drink beers, eat pizza etc. Then we realised alcohol affected gameplay so we started eating pineapple and building forts so no one could watch anyone else's screens. I became pretty obsessed with ‘Halo’ and even made a weird video when I lined up with Russ at midnight to get an Xbox360.

2. ‘Mortal Kombat 9’. I have always been a massive fan of ‘Mortal Kombat’ games. I used to play MKI on my PC when there'd be a two second lag between each punch because the computer wasn't powerful enough. I got into the comic books as well. MK9 is brutal. The x-ray manoeuvres are sick; my favorite fatality is Noob Saibot's 'Make A Wish' fatality.

3. ‘Batman Arkham City’. As a huge fan of Batman, I thoroughly enjoyed this game. I got right into all of the side missions. Batman fucking rules.

4. ‘Ninja Gaiden’. This game is rad. When you increase the skill level of your character you basically demolish enemies in a flurry of ninja craziness. 

5. ‘Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure’. Unlike MKI, this game ran pretty awesomely on my PC. The game is a platform game about this little alien (Cosmo) with suction cap hands that was on his way to Disneyland when a comet fucked up his ship. Then he runs around collecting fruit and shit having wicked adventures. I love the music and the sound FX. Must have driven my folks nuts! Probably influenced my writing!

Twelve Foot Ninja play the Parkwood Tavern Friday September 7.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 13:47

The Floating Bridges: Top Five Epic Fails On Stage

1. Cale Fisher singing half a song on stage at Woodford Folk Festival with his bits hanging out... and the girl he'd been trying to tune forever looking very unimpressed in the front row... with a camera.

2. Jimmy Guitars spewing up on stage at the second show of our New Zealand tour, and Dale Mallett laughing so hard he fell off the stage.

3. Playing a show on the New Zealand Interislander ferry and hitting some big swell, which caused Dan (drummer) to fall off stage and land on top of his Djembe in a rather compromising position.

4. Rohan Nitschke jumping so hard at The Big Pineapple music festival that his borrowed 4,500 dollar bass rig fell over and temporarily died while he played on unaware.

5. Jimmy getting on stage at Palmerston North, New Zealand and kicking off with 'It’s great to be here in New Plymouth'... which was where we were two nights earlier.

The Floating Bridges play Elephant Sound alongside Band Of Frequencies and The Dawn Chorus at the Elephant Hotel Tuesday September 10.

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