Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Much more than a Michael Jackson impersonator

Late last year I had some emails & blogger interactions with Lucas of The Sham, about Richard Blackie, a Michael Jackson impersonator who ran a toyshop in Petersham until he died. Lucas wrote about Richard's death, then his funeral, here and here. Nobody seems to know what happened to Richard's dogs, and I wondered if one of them was Dero Dog (see links in my sidebar). Anyway, a film has been made about this remarkable character and it's showing tomorrow night. Sadly I can't go as I'm teaching, but I'll see it some other time. If you're interested, the Mu-Meson Archives venue is on the corner of Parramatta Rd & Trafalgar St Annandale at the end of the King Furniture building, up the steel staircase. Phone 9517-2010.
Thursday 30th August

Directors Cut: Maya Newell -
RICHARD The Most Interestingest Person I've Ever Met

A stark, bittersweet, and, at times, humorous portrait of Richard Blackie - consummate eccentric, toy collector and former Michael Jackson impersonator - whose public obsessions and private torments are laid bare in this devastating portrayal of the last few months of his life. Seventeen year-old filmmaker, Maya Newell, enters the inner sanctum of Richard Blackie's extraordinary, utterly bizarre toyshop. Striking up a curious relationship with the 41-year-old toy dealer, collector and ex-Michael Jackson impersonator, Maya is given permission to document the life of this most private of private characters, and the obsessions that drive him. Maya will be live in the Archives to present her film and answerer questions about the production.

Location Mu-Meson Archives
Time Doors 7.30 for 8pm start
Cost $10 with supper

Monday, August 13, 2007

Marrickville Contemporary Art Prize 2007 - Entries Close 5pm 20 August

At The Vanishing Point - Contemporary Art presents ... its inaugural contemporary art award for the city of Marrickville.

Marrickville Contemporary Art Prize 2007
06 - 23 September at ATVP 565 King Street Newtown & Don't Look Gallery 419 New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill

Prizes include:
Open Award: $1500 (open award for all entrants)
NESB Award: $500 (open to entrants from a non-English speaking background)
Student Award: $500 (open to any student up to the age of 25years - Secondary/Tafe/Tertiary)
People's Choice: $500 (open to all entrants and decided by the viewing public)

Judging Panel:
Mikala Dwyer - Contemporary Artist and Lecturer Sydney College of the Arts, USyd.
Christine Morrow - Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Mary Nedanovski - Head Teacher Visual Arts, Dulwich Hill High of Visual Arts and Design
Kathleen von Witt - Director, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery and Museum

The prize is open to all artists living or working in the Marrickville local government area.
This project has been assisted by the Marrickville City Council Cultural Celebrations Grants program and will be held in conjunction with the Marrickville Cultural Festival.

Call for Entries
ATVP is currently calling for entries for the Marrickville Contemporary Art Prize 2007. Entries for artworks in any medium can be lodged up until 5pm Monday 20th August at ATVP 565 King Street Newtown (refer to conditions of entry at The Marrickville Contemporary Art Prize 2007 exhibition will be held at ATVP from 06-23 September and the awards presentation and opening launch will be on Thursday 13th September from 6.00-9.00pm. We are also proud to announce that a second site - Don't Look Gallery at Dulwich Hill - will be housing an exhibition of entrants also. This exhibition will be held also from 06-23 September and will have an opening launch on Friday 14th September from 6.00pm-9.00pm. For further details contact ATVP. (02) 9519 2340, 0430 083 364.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Important tidbits

Semester is two weeks long now and my classes have almost settled into their final shapes & demographics (students tend to sample or surf elective subjects in the first few weeks to decide what suits them). One of my classes is 90% international students and most of them are from China's big cities. Without resorting to stereotypes, these are not the Chinese students of old: quiet, anxious and with terrible English. They're very urbane, cool, outspoken, stylish, have great English and they're not afraid to question me. Obviously China is changing... Shanghai is on my list of places to go before I die.

I had a great salad yesterday in Newtown - forgot to take camera so no photo - but it was baby spinach, fresh beetroot, fresh peas, mint, fetta and yoghurt. The dressing was, I think, olive oil mixed with that pomegranate syrup you can get from Middle Eastern shops and some balsamic vinegar. The whole thing was purple, green & white: very feminist.

I am 41 and should know better but I was seduced yesterday, post salad, into buying a dress fashioned in the new silhouette. Fashionistas will know exactly what I mean. It has no waist and is balloonish. It ends just above my knees. At least it's black. What I really like about it is that it has nice pockets - comfortable slits either side of my belly button - but this is perhaps not the best reason to buy a dress. There is a risk that in it I will look like a fat little ten year old (from behind only of course).

Today we visit the lovely Stryker, who missed out on our company and bag of carrots last week because Ruby's boyfriend was bitten by a poisonous snake (one of his pets, yes really). Ruby spent most of the weekend in hospital with him keeping a bedside vigil as he was pumped full of morphine. I didn't know that one in five people goes into anaphylactic shock after being given anti-venom, so doctors try not to give it - luckily he didn't need it but he was pretty sick. Anyway, the poor kid is now back home but has lost his sense of smell, perhaps permanently.

I got a first list of corrections from the editor who is working on my book manuscript. He's a blogger! in Glasgow. The corrections were all wonderful - it is just brilliant having someone read your stuff so closely.

My magnolia tree is almost in full bloom - this morning I cut a small branch off & put it in a vase on the mantelpiece, then I made a posy of lavender & rosemary for my round red vase, then I felt all exhausted by my domestic goddessness.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Good Life

No photos for this blog entry, although I took heaps, as I'm not sure everyone I'm going to write about would be happy about them. I've had a most extraordinary day. Natalie Coulter arranged for Orlan, Raphael and me to be part of a gathering at the block in Redfern. Uncle Max, Alfred, Lily, Roxanne and Bonny were our hosts. We met near the community centre on the grass; it was the clearest, bluest Sydney Winter's day. Lily and Uncle Max danced; Alfred played Yidaki (didgeridoo) and Bonny played the sticks. I loved Lily's dance about how the emu got her little wings and her tail best.

Orlan was deeply interested and had many questions about Aboriginal culture. In turn, members of the gathering, especially the women, were very taken with her. So very many things were explained to us, and so patiently. At times the conversation was very dark - we talked about the Stolen Generation and why its members in particular come to the block when in Sydney. We were told about how the block came to be and the sorts of pressures it is under now. And yet the tone was also lighthearted, with lots of laughs. Urban life versus living in the bush - Uncle Max showed photos of his bush home (something less than a tent) & joked that he has no electricity bill there. Alfred and I had a chat about writing Yidaki music using traditional music notation. Afterwards we all went to The Royal for a late lunch (although most of them don't drink) and we talked about our children. I haven't felt so at home with a group of people who weren't my family for ages.

Hosting a celebrity gives you entry to another world. All week I've been out of my element - mixing with Sydney's artistic glitterati & going to fancy restaurants, cocktail parties and openings. That's been exciting and wonderful, especially for a shameless people-watcher like me. But today - sitting on the grass with the sun on my back, listening to the Yidaki's deep rhythmic buzz and watching the delicate, precise movements Lily was making with her fingers as she danced, seeing the way she became the emu - I knew what the good life was.