Entries Tagged as 'Canberra'

Lamenting McGregor’s demise

Saturday morning and a fresh westerly wind competed with a crystal clear Canberra sky as CMC members and the passing public stopped briefly for an impromptu gig under the flower pot on Marcus Clarke Street. Dr Stovepipe diagnosed the situation and offered up their trademark remedy of top tapping entertainment. Joe Oppenheimer then closed out what is probably the last CMC gig in the Mcgregor Hall precinct in his uniquely individual style.

It’s a shame the hall is gone. The decision to destroy a valuable community asset and reduce a unique piece of Canberra’s history to a pile of rubbish underlines the importance of live music as our culture is consumed in the name of progress. We should not forget the good times we enjoyed in that little hall on the edge of town.

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Traces of a photographer

There’s a crush of people crowding around the complimentary wine and cheese while next to me a flash gun fires. Its early but already the small gallery space at the Front is crowded to get a glimpse of Beth Jenning’s first solo exhibition.

My attention is drawn to a stop sign that imposes itself on a brilliant blue sky. It’s a little crazy and very impulsive. Why take that picture? Next to it is a forlorn collection of wicker chairs on a Baltic beach bereft of their human cargo but still showing the unmistakeable signs of summers past. On another wall, isolated from the rest are a pair of well worn blue armchairs that haunt an empty room.

The work is deliberately ambiguous and although the brief explanations offer some relief they do little to inform the viewer. There are glimpses of other places yet they resonate easily in the Lyneham gallery, images that transcend the barriers of place and culture.

And it almost didn’t happen. Beth relates a story of how her plans to shoot stock photographs unravelled while travelling in Italy. Amid the visual splendor Beth stopped taking photos and took some time to ask herself what would she really like to capture. The journey that traces the impressions places and people make on each other began.

Beth’s technical proficiency is grounded in old school film techniques nurtured in the Lake Ginninderra College program and given room to grow during a crazy world tour across four continents to shoot twenty different families. Her images aren’t just a snapshot of some time and some place, they are moments in the eye of the artist.

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leaving traces – A photography exhibition by Beth Jennings
14 to 27 April 2010 @ the Front Gallery

World Naked Bike Ride Canberra 2010 – Pics

click ‘Read more’ below for more pics.

On Sunday past, around a hundred brave individuals, yours truly included, took part in Canberra’s World Naked Bike Ride. Beginning with a mass body-painting session in a marquee down by the paddle-boat hire place, the ride meandered over Commonwealth Bridge, up to Parliament House, through the vintage car show near OPH, past some wedding photos at Commonwealth Place, over Kings Ave Bridge and thence through Commonwealth Park back to the starting point.

It was two hours of gentle cycling for most. Personally, my choice of vehicle and passenger was a tad ambitious and having to ride the damn Johnny Loco home to Downer straight after for another engagement was torture indeed. Halfway home, however, the Johnny Loco partially redeemed itself when I, having totally exhausted the last stringy muscle fibres in my spindly legs, could pause in the shade for a little nap in the caboose.

The police, also on bicycles, accompanied us the whole way, partly to ensure we obeyed the pre-arranged rules regarding exposure of genitals etc. and partly to escort us through intersections. In general they were a benign if not helpful presence. Despite fielding a number of complaints from members of the public, they did no more than hurry us away from the offendees.

There’s a video posted by Nic Welbourn on Facebook if you’re interested, and a gallery of photos below, some taken by me, some by my passenger. [Read more →]


Salacious Sundays @ Old Canberra Inn,  Sunday 8th Oct, 2009
Bic Parker, Special Correspondent

A sunny afternoon and Owen Campbell and his slide guitars who have just returned from a stint in Ireland, and why not? Where I am sure he was appreciated by the little people. Arriving at the start of the afternoon I had time to sit and watch the other patrons enjoying themselves. It was going to be an entertaining afternoon.

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West Coast Bootleg

Bootleg Sessions @ The Phoenix, Monday 26th Oct, 2009
Bic Parker. Special Correspondent

Last evening, another intermittent cold night, I turned up at the Phoenix Bar (and grill, I wish). There was succour in the form of a good looking duo affectionately known as Winter Flint. Young man with a full red drum kit by the name of Leon. He does know how to use a pair of sticks and he wowed me with some competent and innovative drum solos which went well with the young lady, simply referred to as Jude, who was playing an acoustic guitar and singing her own compositions. Well-versed songs about the realities to living life.

It’s very rare to meet someone who gives you the impression that Janis Joplin is alive and well and giving singing lessons, but this woman knew how to let go from deep within and the telling was in the richness and commitment of her voice. They did not play long enough as far as I was concerned, but they set the bar high.

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Gertrude Implores You To Take Her Seriously For A Minute

As some of you may know, I recently began employment with a small, grass-roots organisation dedicated to helping local communities do anything they can to reduce their carbon footprint. I spent several months visualising a job exactly like this one; working with people of vision, action and commitment, 5 minutes from home and Wildflower’s school, and with regular hours that accommodate other commitments. It is literally a dream job for me. Of course, the downside of this employment is that it comes with an increasing awareness of climate change, a line of thinking which is liable to lead to the excruciating discomfort of self-examination.

Despite the impression I may have given you with the amount of space I devote in my blog to flippant observations and trite assumptions, I actually try hard not to be judgemental of others. Recognising in each of us the struggle to reconcile to the slip of time we have between life and death (sorry; bit of new-agey philosophy crept in there), I am inclined to forgive people their foibles and stupidities. Plus, I’m quite foible-ridden and stupid myself, so people in glass-houses and all that. Also, I’m afraid no one will invite me anywhere if I start airing my opinions about the urgent need to dismantle the military/industrial complex and the end of the world scenarios that await us if we don’t.

So on the whole I have been able to check an inclination to proselytise when confronted with my friend’s and loved one’s casual indifference to the impending doom that awaits us. I don’t want to single any one out, you know, or make people I care about uncomfortable, but I just don’t think the Good-Fairy Government from the shining land of We Actually Give A Toss is going to make an appearance and give us time off from our oil dependent lives to find a nice little techno-fix for this. Uh uh. If we don’t take matters into our own hands, no one else is going to do it for us.

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Stateline Clip

For those of you still searching for the Stateline piece on the Backyard Backanalia, Guerrilla Gig and Bootleg Sessions, here’s the youtube clip, thoughtfully recorded and uploaded by Johnboy at The RiotACT.

World Naked Bike Ride, Canberra

The World Naked Bike Ride comes to Canberra for the first time on Sun 15th March, 2009. Culturazi will be there and so should you. Check the details on the Facebook page.

World Naked Bike Ride

Fringe 09: Pics

Fringe 09 is over and, despite a little of of a brouhaha about ‘unsuitable content and nudity‘, nobody got hurt (although I did hear a rumour someone’s foot got cut off paddling in the fountain), lots of people had a lot of fun (including me, paddling in the fountain amongst other things) and the unseasonable cold snap wasn’t enough to stop a decent amount of lovely man and woman flesh being on show. I think it unlikely any young minds were despoiled. More probably they were amazed to see how good and entertaining and fun the (mostly) local arts scene can be. Pictures, click below.

Fringe 09 Pics

Frances Emily Sorrelle: 1931-2008

Frances Emily Sorrelle

I first met Frances in nineteen fifty-eight when she established her home in Majura Avenue, below Mount Ainslie, with her husband Norm. Born to the daughter of a forestry worker, she grew up in Doonkuna Street, Reid, in time to watch the infant national capital develop. She was a devoted home maker, wife and mother. Not long after I met her she had a daughter and then had to face life without her husband. She  rose to the challenge of providing a life for her children as well as herself.

Frances was a member of the St Brigids Roman Catholic parish where she attended church regularly. She was a member of the girl guides as well as a leader for the cub scouts.  She worked in the commonwealth public service as a humble clerical assistant and rose within those ranks. After her retirement from the public service she traveled to Africa and to the Middle East. She maintained an active interest in the city she knew and loved, developing a passion for its history and being involved in restoration projects of bush farmhouses around Tidbinbilla and the Brindabella ranges.

My own relationship with Fran, as she was popularly called, tempered in the last few years as she settled into old age and, although we did not necessarily see eye to eye on everything, I can say confidently that I will never be able to thank her enough for her kindness and dogged persistence. She died last week and I will miss her. I loved her. She was my mother.

Graham Benedict Raymond Sorrelle

Spotted Grass Frog?


Spotted (sorry) this little guy on the office floor after folding up the sofa-bed this morning. There’s a surprising abundance of frogs in this part of Ainslie but this is the first one to cross our threshold. I think it’s a Spotted Grass Frog (a.k.a. Spotted Marshfrog), Limnodynastes tasmaniensis, but only because it doesn’t resemble the Spotted Grass Frog less than all the other frogs supposedly in the region. He moved off of his own accord some time during the morning, possibly taking up residence under the sofa which isn’t very comforting. The thought of accidentally squishing a frog makes me feel icky. And yes, the carpet needs a bit of a vacuum.

Climate Change Torch Relay @ Parliament House

Sunday October 12th, 10.30am

Climate Change Torch @ Parliament House

Arts Grants Fiasco

Actually there was no fiasco. Our usual, sober, headline writer is on vacation and her replacement has advised us our headlines lack ‘juice’. But now that you’re here, it is with all the joy of a hungry person watching a feast to which they weren’t invited that I observe the announcement of the 2009 ArtsACT funding round. Once again our glorious government has doled out around a million bucks to around 70 out of more than 180 applicants (I was not one of them).

Grants for music related projects, totalling roughly $230,000 split 19 ways, took the lion’s share, with an approximate 60/40 split between traditional and contemporary music. Visual arts grants (16) totaled $172,000, literature (17) received $131,700, film projects (9) $120,000, theatre (7) took $114,000, dance (3) got $101,000, multimedia (3) $54,000 and craft (2) a measly $29,000.

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Roadside Sign Story

Road Side Signs

National Science Week

National Science Week kicks off on Wednesday. Here’s some of the less geeky things you might want to attend.

Fringe @ The Front

Chorus of Women