the big issue

February 28, 2008

bigissue.jpg

Thursday evening, seating at the Gipsy Bar in Fitzroy, sipping a ginger lime tea, after having a nice dinner with a local friend. A well behaved homeless man, with a great sense of humour, walks into the restaurant, selling some sort of magazine. My friend shows excitement while quickly gets $5 out of her wallet and buys one. People around wave their arms to that same homeless man, which by now is the attraction in the restaurant, while collecting money in exchange for copies of the magazine. I watch the scene, speechless, and finally ask my friend what have just happened there. She proudly smiles and says: “Oh, It’s the big issue!”

 

The Big Issue is a magazine that mixes an unsparing journalism and clever entertainment coverage. The fortnightly magazine is sold on the streets of Australia by well trained homeless people who keep half or the cover price. With its independent character, The Big Issue approaches relevant subjects while preserving its personal comical aspect. Their main purpose is “to provide a mechanism to assist homeless, ex-homeless and long-term unemployed people to participate in society as independently as possible”. The magazine can be found in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, and Canberra.

 

After hearing everything about the magazine, still astonished, I found myself staring at the door wishing that he would come back to sell me a copy. Once that didn’t happen, I came home with that stuck in my mind. For now then, I’ll be enthusiastically waiting for a homeless person to approach me on the streets, offering me a magazine.

 

For more info: the big issue

(the image was extracted from The Big Issue’s website)

kiss2.jpg   

A contemporary melburnian production inspired on the shakespearean classic, Hamlet. The film has strong influences from the French New Wave, Dogme 95 and experimental theatre; illustrating a subliminal decayed world, in a way that film experts haven’t seen before. 

 

Produced by ‘A Poor Theatre Company‘, directed by Oscar Redding, the film stars the enchanting new zealander actress, Heather Bolton, playing Gertrude. I am proud and lucky to have the chance of interacting with her on a weekly basis, while having her as my tutor in Australia. 

 

The film, which had its premiere at the 2007 Melbourne International Film Festival, is the first to be included to the Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre program, having several screenings from February 26, and March 8. Some of them are sold out already, so hurry up and make sure you get your tickets before they are all gone!

 

It goes well with Thomas Vinterberg’s Festen (The Celebration); Lars von Trier’s Idoterne (The Idiots), and Breaking the Waves. 

 

 

What: The tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark

Where: Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre

When: 26.02 – 08.03

More Info: drinkhotblood | malthousetheatre

(the image used for this post belongs to http://www.drinkhotblood.com

shoes, interrupted.

February 24, 2008

dsc_0125a.jpg
 

How many times have you walked on a random street; anywhere around the world, looked at the sky and found that lovely pair of shoes laced together bouncing over the power lines? How many times after spotting those shoes have you asked yourself, what are the possible reasons why those shoes are hanging there? If you have found yourself in that situation; and had no answers for the questions, don’t worry. You are not alone!

 

dsc_0031a.jpg

 

After having photographed a few hanging shoes around Melbourne, I decided to speculate possibilities that could possibly explain the case. Do people have their shoes stolen on the streets and thrown over the power lines? If so, do the thieves have emotional reasons for doing it this way, instead of taking the shoes with them? Do kids in high school or college do that to their frosh during their o-week? Maybe someone’s shoes were hurting their feet and the person decided to take them off, and throw them away? Could that possibly be the end of the line for those shoes; and instead of throwing them away in the rubbish can, the individual decided to interact with the environment, adding an element to the city’s landscape? Someone once told me It had something to do with marking the spot where a ‘narc’ got beat up (by ‘narc’ the person meant someone that ‘rats’ on their friends). What have you heard about it?

 

 dsc_0081.jpg 

 

With all that cogitation added to the considerable amount of shoes I’ve seen hanging over the power lines in Melbourne, my questions are: Is this act becoming more common nowadays, and possibly turning into a new trend? Will this be an old form of expression/attitude becoming a movement? Are we witnessing the beginning of a new artistic interaction, possibly soon to be called shoe-tagging? Living in the post-modern world, where almost everything is acceptable, I wouldn’t be impressed if that is the answer for the case. Whatever It is, whatever you have heard or imagined about it, I want to hear your thoughts! In the meantime all we can do is contemplate the interventions on our streets, while asking ourselves: why? Why? WHY?

 

img_0020.jpg 

 

focus on gus van sant

February 20, 2008

paranoid.jpg
 

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) hosts a remarkable week, dedicated to the eminent american film director, Gus Van Sant. Van Sant’s most common themes are the specter of death combined with marginalized subcultures in the form of prostitution, illegal immigration, drug addiction, dissident adolescence, and tempestuous turned away juvenile men often dealing with oppressed homosexuality in a subtle way.

 

Focus on Gus Van Sant will be exhibiting a nightly movie; having his latest work, Paranoid Park, opening the festival. The following nights will be playing some of his stunning films such as Psycho, Mala Noche, My own Private Idaho, To die for, Drugstore, Cowboy, Gerry, Elephant, and Last days

 

Although some may consider Van Sant’s mood fatalistic, he often finds ways of transmitting a clever feeling of romantic love, self acceptance, brotherhood and family. Regardless your taste for the blockbusters; or the realm of conceptual films, there is no doubt you will enjoy the Festival. A useful tip could be combining a small dose of stoicism, with the desire of appreciating a well-done piece, having as result a pleasant night while socializing with the public expected on those nights.

 

 

 Paranoid Park Trailer. 2007

 

What: Focus on Gus Van Saint

When: Feb 21 – 29

Where: ACMI Cinemas 

 

sony tropfest 2008

February 18, 2008

tropfest.jpg

 

It happened yesterday in Australia, the 16th edition of the Sony Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival. The event was broadcasted live from The Botanic Gardens Trust, in Sydney, transmitted simultaneously to every state capital and eight regional centres, having no cover charge for any of its locations.

 

The competition had over 600 entries this year, starring independent filmmakers from several countries around the world, such as Scotland, Ireland, Japan, Denmark, Austria, France, Germany, the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, and of course, Australia. 

 

The event has three main rules: the films cannot exceed seven minutes; the event has to be their premiere screening; and each film must include the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI), confirming that the film was produced exclusively for the festival. The TSI chosen for 2008 was the number ‘8’.

 

The event has expended its frontiers overseas; having had its second edition in New York City last september, taking place at the Battery Park in downtown. The edition had over 8,000 people attending. Having a successful repercussion, the event will be happening again on October 11, 2008. 

 

Back to the other side of the world, in parallel with the aussie edition, the organizers have launched the Trop Jr, being the world’s largest short film festival for kids, by kids. The event also happened yesterday, just hours before Sony Tropfest’s regular program.

 

Needless to say how incredible was having the chance to experience the event, and being one of the 150,000 people that gathered together to watch the 16 finalists. The weather couldn’t be better, with a big, bright, and yellow sun keeping the thermometers over the 30 degrees mark all day. As the sun went down and the presentations came on, my thoughts couldn’t be other: what an amazing and cultural country I’m living in. 

 

For my filmmaker friends, and for all of those involved in the film industry, I highly recommend working on something outstanding to participate in the next year’s edition. For the sponsors, filmmakers, and each one of those australian citizens; permanent residents; and others not so permanent, that were part of that outrageous event yesterday, I have only one thing to say:

 

BRAVO!

(followed by the endless claps)

 

tropfestcrowd.jpg

for more info visit the official website:

www.tropfest.com

 

shake ya pelvis!

February 11, 2008

svenvath1.jpg
 

The german techno legend Sven Väth arrives in Melbourne on the 29th, ending this month of southern hemisphere carnaval in great style. Väth will be spinning a special 3 hour set showcasing sounds of his 2007 Cocoon Ibiza residency. As high quality electronic music is never enough for the most edgy melburnians, the event will receive the strength and technic of the poker flat’s Steve Bug, along with the acclaimed brazilian Gui Boratto, from the german label Kompakt, bringing to the dance floor a live set that you won’t want to miss. The trio promises an electrifying night filled with the most fresh minimal, maximal, and glitchy techno where you will dance until your blisters beg you to stop. So don’t miss out, buy your tickets now, put those stretchy skinny jeans on, and shake that pelvis like there was no tomorrow!

 

What: Sven Väth (GE) + Steve Bug (GE) + Gui Boratto (BR) + more…

When: Friday February 29

At the Queensbridge (1 queensbridge st, Melbourne)

More info: futureentertainment.com.au

 

Sven Vath live at weekend dance. Madrid, Spain. 14-09-2007 

 

replay: christian marclay

February 2, 2008

Audiovisual exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, in Melbourne. Christian Marclay was born in California, raised in Switzerland, and currently based in NYC. Strongly influenced by Marcel Duchamp, Pop Art, the punk movement and performance art, Marclay has been composing music and performances as an experimental DJ for over 25 years.Installations using several projectors, TVs, and speakers, from collages of classic hollywood movies and personal footage, mixing audio and video, Marclay creates a new composition rearranging elements and playing with your senses.”Music like you’ve never seen before and art like you’ve never heard before”, as the interview magazine says. The exhibition ends on february 3rd, so keep an eye open to see if It is going anywhere next to you.

Record PlayersVideo, 5 mins 1984

For Christian Marclay ‘Breaking is making sound’. The musicians in Record Players shatter records rhythmically acting out against the records’ fragility in order to free music from its captivity.

Melbourne, VIC. Australia

 

A week after arriving in Australia, after spending my days walking around and exploring Melbourne, receiving a significant amount of information, processing, and digesting it, I can finally have my first conclusions. 

 

Australia is a great mix of Brazil and North America. It mixes the southern warmth with the northern economy and education.

 

Public toilet on Elizabeth Street

 

The time for arrival couldn’t be better. Mid summer, during the Australian Open and three days away from the Australian day. In addition to that: shows, concerts, music festivals, art performances and exhibitions, incredible architecture, thousands of amazing cafes, bars and restaurants; people, people, and more people… energizing this city which, in my mind, used to be called “Utopia”.

 

Australian day parade

 

Melbourne has a bit of everything, a mix of all the good places I’ve been around the world. A diverse city with many cultures and languages, separated by the Yarra River, which literally divides the city in two: north and south. This division is easily and quickly identified just walking in certain areas. The older city is located north of the river, where downtown is, in addition to many adorable neighborhoods like Carlton, Fitzroy, and Collingwood. These are the hip, alternative, and more underground parts of town. South of the river is the new city, easily identified in its architecture, yet mixed with some old buildings in certain areas. The most famous neighborhoods in the south side are the trendy, yet pretentious South Yarra, Prahran, and St Kilda, having the last one by the ocean. It’s clear that most people don’t cross the River for cultural/local reasons, creating an unfortunate atmosphere of rivalry and social separatism. 

 

Rubber Duck Race at the Yarra River

 

The architecture in Melbourne is an amazing mix of old and new. Old victorian terraces and buildings are side by side with brand new sky scrapers, where architects have no fear of thinking and “designing” outside the box. Massive architectural installations can be found along the freeways, bridges and different areas around town. Art installations are everywhere, mostly common found as sculptures on the streets and amazing graffiti in the hundreds of small alleys between the buildings. There are hundreds of art galleries and museums in town. Plays, musicals, opera, and dance can be seen day and night in several different venues. The music scene has infinite possibilities no matter genre or style. International and local attractions, mainstream or underground, can be enjoyed on a daily basis, most of the time having more than one event that fits your needs and taste to choose from.

 

Old building on Elizabeth st 

Melbourne has a strong asian influence combined to the old British values. The several nationalities here found can preserve their own language and culture, just like in other countries, yet adding a lot to the country’s culture, especially to the culinary. 

 

Degraves st

 

The first contacts with locals were very positive. Melburnians are friendly, outgoing, helpful, and generous. Everyone I met here so far has shown to be well travelled, educated, polite, and somehow artistic. A few exceptions were found when heading south of the river, where some people, just like anywhere else around the world, think that money and status are the most common denominator of culture and society. Overall, following the local division, I’m proud of being a north sider. 

 

 Federation Square during a tennis match