Films, Howl & FOLA, Banquet of Secrets, Taxithi, Maree Coote


David saw the final night of MTC’s musical, Ladies in Black and was blown away by it. Set in Sydney it’s about the lives of women working in department stores in the 1950s. He loved the strong storyline, the music by Tim Finn, the costumes, the rotating stages and the great performances. In contrast, Daniel saw the film Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and left after 45 mins! Consensus is that TV zombies like The Walking Dead are much better than film ones. Brendan saw the Coen brothers’ all-star film Hail Caesar!—a darkly comical film set in 1950s Hollywood with the plot working around the kidnapping of a major star. 4 stars. Daniel mentions the confronting doco The Hunting Ground showing at ACMI on 2 March with a Q&A afterwards about rape culture on Uni campuses.  Lady Gaga and Diane Warren wrote the song for it and have been nominated for an Oscar. Later in the show, Brendan and Daniel talk about the film 45 years directed by Andrew Haigh who also did Weekend and the series Looking AND whom Daniel spoke to at Joy on Out takes. It’s a quiet, sensitive, unmelodramatic  mediation on a long term relationship. 4.0 stars

Special Guests today are:

15:01 to 31:51 mins—Liz Dunne is Co-Creator & Performer in Howl which will show at the Festival of Live Art (FOLA) on at the Meat Market on 5 and 6  March. Liz and her 2 co-creators are part of contemporary arts company Aphids which prioritises music-driven projects. Howl is very physical and has a lot of imagery rather than being script-based.  Mozart’s Requiem is played throughout. FOLA runs from 1 to 13 March and  is hosted by Arts House, TheatreWorks, FCAC (Footscray) and the Meat Market and has a very diverse program including many experimental works, a range of artists, audience engagement and varied audience sizes—including 1 on 1 performances. Howl has 3 performers and ‘sits between a parade, a protest and a procession’. It’s a celebration of 15 significant moments in art history focusing on the controversy or conversation they’ve aroused in their society —some famous, some obscure. They’re particularly looking at the social value of art. Liz talks about how they chose the artworks; who gets celebrated in parades in Melbourne society; art censorship; Ginsberg’s poem ‘Howl’; playing with absurdity; government and social agendas with art.

32:24 to 1:00:25 mins—Steve Vizard and Michael Carman are in to talk about the musical/opera Banquet of Secrets on at the Playhouse 1-5 March and then touring Australia, starting with Brisbane. Both loved live theatre and musicals as children.  Steve wanted to find out how this spellbinding magic happened i.e backstage. For this show Steve wrote the story and the lyrics for the songs and the superb music is by Paul Grabowsky.  The story is about 4 uni friends who meet up every year for a banquet at the same restaurant and in this particular gathering, further down the track, one challenges them all to reveal a secret. And these are life-changing secrets with one particularly potent. The 4 all sing their parts while Michael, who plays the waiter, only speaks. The show has drama, confrontation but also levity throughout. Steve tells of a real-life banquet he was at with friends where one person died soon afterwards. This experience triggered the idea for this show and is homage to his friend, a celebration of friendship and the idea of meals as rituals and community.  Fundamental in the piece is the nature of your friendship with yourself and previous self. Steve and Michael relay some more details about the show and how it was put together and also, the importance of having new work at the Playhouse.

1:04:26 to 1:15:06 mins— Writer/Performer Helen Yotis and Director Petra Kalive are in to talk about their show Taxithi:An Australian Odyssey on at fortyfivedownstairs from 2 to 24 March.  Helen collected the migration stories of about 20 Greek women who came to Australia by ship in the 50s and 60s and put together a script from these along with Greek music of that era to create a show.  She asked Petra to direct which she willingly did as it is an important and topical show about migration. Helen has a Greek heritage and her grandmothers and other older Greek women are everywhere and inside they have these incredible in-depth stories that very few know about. She felt the pressure of doing justice to their stories when writing the script but it essentially wrote itself over time. Petra saw the stories fall into groupings such as—arrival, journey, free-spirits, brides and mothers.  David and our guests discuss the importance of telling these stories  and how tough it was for migrants in the past and present  to leave their home because it was unliveable.  Helen’s interviewees and others have seen the show and it has been an incredible release for them. AND not all stories are sad; many are very funny.  The 3 performers, including Helen-have 3 characters each.  She tells of her 3.

1:15:14 to 1:32:04 mins—Writer Maree Coote is back on Sunday Arts Magazine.  The short version of her background is that after a career in advertising, she began to write books. She started with Melbourne’s history in early 2000 as Melbourne was then seen as the ‘daggy sister…nothing as shiny as Sydney’ which she never felt,  so she got right into researching as many stories as she could which resulted in The Melbourne Book: The History of Now.  It incorporates current stories as well as those from the past. It’s now in its 4th edition and it has won many prizes.  Maree talks about Melbourne and also about some of the content of the book. Maree also has books on letter art where she takes the letters in the name of something (like the ‘Chrysler Building’ or ‘koala’), carefully chooses fonts for these and forms them into pictures. She says ‘The root of typography is choosing the right font for the purpose’.  Her latest book and exhibition is Spellbound Letter Art which continues until 6 March. The book has chapters on architecture, animals and people.  The Exhibition is portraits of famous people some of which are not in the book. Next for Maree are nudes in an exhibition called Naked History 22 March to 3 April at Melbourne Style Gallery where she’s moving away from letter art into ‘planes of colour’.  Close-ups of the body parts of Ned Kelly, Nellie Melba etc.