Currently the Wonderland Festival is running at the Brisbane Powerhouse and like the Queensland Cabaret Festival earlier this year at the same venue Scenestr put the call out to their contributors to suggest some shows they would be happy to attend and review. Previously for the Queensland Cabaret Festival I was lucky enough to see Soldier’s Wife. This time around I am to attend and review five shows Randy Writes A Novel, Wasteland, Love/Hate Actually, Nath Valvo, Heroism and Sidekickery. They are not the only shows running too, check out the program here https://brisbanepowerhouse.org/festivals/wonderland-festival-2017/ if you’re a local.

On Friday night Karen and I saw Randy Writes A Novel which probably features one of the bigger names of the festival with Randy ( a purple felt puppet) doing a stand up routine that asked some big questions about narrative structure and the purpose of art. God it’s good to laugh. You can check out my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/randy-writes-a-novel-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171127

On Saturday while Karen worked, I went to see Wasteland with her best friend put on by Flipside Circus. Think Cirque Du Soleil but with the performers aged 9 to 16 and set in a post apocalyptic future. You can check out my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/wasteland-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171127

I also went and saw the cabaret There’s Something About Mary(s) starring Cassie George and musical director Luke Volker on piano. I was fortunate enough to interview Cassie for Scenestr in the lead up to Wonderland and was excited to see her show. A low key affair with one piano and a singer on stage I enjoyed the show. George is a talent through and through and her repartee with Volker kept the show moving. She certainly knows how to belt out a tune and he is excellent at tickling the old ivory. I kept wanting something deeper and more insightful from the finale but the show reflects a search that is ongoing about how to be our best selves and maybe that is why I felt some lack of fulfillment because it reflects the show’s ideas. Either way I will look out for shows from them in the future, it takes guts and panache to do what she did and honey she did it well. You can check out a review of the show from another Scenestr writer here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/there-s-something-about-mary-s-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171129

Wonderland runs over two weekends. I’ll be attending further shows starting Thursday. Have a great week everyone. Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken




I feel very fortunate to have another film review published at Heavy Magazine. This is my fifth film review published on their site following Their Finest, Berlin Syndrome, Lethal Weapon, Dunkirk and now Murder On The Orient Express. If I’m not entirely happy with my review of In This Corner Of The World at FilmInk I feel this one flows pretty well and is nice and short. You can read it here https://heavymag.com.au/film-review-murder-orient-express/

Heavy is an independent magazine and website that is all about the music and specifically heavy music and supporting the Australian music scene in general. Fortunately for me they do cover film as well and I have been fortunate to have a few things published there.

-Lloyd Marken





We’re getting towards the end of year and people start to reflect on what their best films of the year have been. I’ll probably do a list in March next year when all the Oscar releases have come out in Australia. Three though are already on the list as a given and they are Dunkirk and Blade Runner: 2049. The third was a film we saw in September at the Brisbane International Film Festival from Japan called In This Corner Of The World. An animated film about the war years in the Japanese homeland it is a moving tale about the growth of young woman amidst such turmoil. The Australian release date 7th of December coincides with the remembrance of the bombing of Pearl Harbour which would have been an oversight if it had been the U.S. release date but that was the 11th of August and the film has already been seen in most parts of the world. Now it will be Australia’s turn and I highly urge people to seek it out.

You can read my review of the film here https://filmink.com.au/reviews/in-this-corner-of-the-world/ Please feel free to like or share via social media platforms or comment on review page itself or here if you prefer. Appreciate you taking the time to read.

I don’t think it is my best review but I have been lucky enough to have it published at a new publication FilmInk. FilmInk are celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year having gone through several evolutions starting out as a fortnightly free press to a monthly digest sold in newsagents to a monthly free press distributed in cinemas to a premium bimonthly magazine and now Australia’s premiere online magazine. They’re continuing to evolve too moving to cover more streaming and television programs and increase their video content. They are major partners with the Gold Coast Film Festival and the Supernova Pop Culture Expos. As someone who still has quite a few old issues of the magazine that I bought over the years it is quite a thrill to now say I contributed a review to FilmInk.

-Lloyd Marken


After seeing Raw starting a tradition of Grilled Burgers while on assignment. Copyright Lloyd Marken


I’ve been published 25 times with Scenestr Magazine since they accepted my review of Hidden Figures and put it up on their website on the 23rd of February, 2017.  Of the twenty five, 6 have been interviews which have all been featured in their print magazines around the country, 11 have been either preview or film festival screenings of movies and 8 have been productions seen in theatres.

Some friends were kind enough to send some copies of the Sydney print edition which was where my first interview was published. Also Karen at BIFF 2017 with a Brisbane copy we found. Copyright Lloyd Marken.

When the first one was published I was over the moon, I wondered if could I do it again, when they sent me to see the Queensland Ballet performance Raw I was tickled pink to see my ticket envelope marked Reviewer. I wanted to get that review just right.

Tickets for Queensland Ballet’s Raw. Copyright Lloyd Marken

I wondered if I could get five reviews published? What if I could do an interview? What if I got published with another magazine? What if I could get published in the print copy as well as online? I’ve found answers to these questions and found new questions to ask. Where this journey ends others ask me sometimes in very rude ways but I give them no answers. I have plans but what comes of them is not nearly as important as remembering how lucky I am to have had even this. They have a blog now at Scenestr listing everything  I’ve had published http://scenestr.com.au/blog/Lloyd-Marken I’ll continue to publish here for my fellow bloggers to get updates on what’s happening with my work for other magazines. Hopefully this will continue but this all started here with the blog and with you. So I thank you.

-Lloyd Marken

Some of the places we’ve been and things we’ve seen. Copyright Lloyd Marken.



A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to interview the talented and beautiful Cassie George. She is about to perform her cabaret There’s Something About Mary(s) as the part of the upcoming Wonderland Festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

George is a consummate performer and has been developing the cabaret for the past twelve months with different showings. It is based on her own experiences of dating and having a “gaggle of gays.”

I always get a bit nervous before interviews but Cassie has a good sense of humour and I only wish we had gotten to talk more. Especially about different kinds of scatting. Any locals to Brisbane should definitely check out her show. You can read the interview here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/there-s-something-about-mary-s-at-wonderland-festival-come-on-over-cassie

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They also publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. A digital copy of the latest QLD print magazine including a edited down to fit version of my interview with Ms. George on Page 44 can be found here http://scenestr.com.au/read/QLD/2017/1098-QLD/scenestr-QLD-1098.html#p=44 The magazine is focussed mostly on music gigs, festivals, stand-up comics, fashion and interviews with local and international bands. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts.

-Lloyd Marken



I’ve been able to attend 3 film festivals on assignment with Scenestr and it has been some of the most fun I’ve had working for them. Last Thursday night I was in attendance at the opening night of Cine Latino Film Festival in Brisbane where the film watched was You’re Killing Me Susana from Mexico. You can read more of my thoughts on this excellent film and the opening night festivities here http://scenestr.com.au/movies-and-tv/cine-latino-opening-night-opening-film-brisbane-review-palace-centro-20171120

Taking the time to click on these articles and like or comment on them is really appreciated by me.

I went into it a little nervous and by myself (Karen was working) not sure how it would go. The film was a thought provoking comedy and afterwards I exited to the foyer where there was to be an after party. I found myself leaning up against a wall. At one point with my hands full of food and a drink I was asked if I would take a picture of two friends. I don’t know if it was my demeanour or my dress but this was one of a few occasions where I was asked to do this. I wasn’t the only wallflower there but I was the only one who seemed to stick around enjoying the Latin music, taking in the salsa dancing and making sure every couple there would not have to result to a selfie to get both of them in shot. With some nice Cuban rum in me I asked one of the waiters what were the h’ordeuvres doing the rounds. She pulled out a sheet and asked if I wanted to take a picture. Investigative journalism at its finest! Emboldened I asked two people I’d taken a picture of earlier what they thought of the film and the party. With their answers and some expert observation I determined I had accurately taken the temperature of the room and stole off into the night a bag of complimentary fancy corny chips for my beloved wife.

I can’t say this enough but I feel so lucky for such nights and I hope I find a way to be worthy of them.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. It is the last two where I’ve been fortunate enough to do some coverage of which I’m very grateful.

-Lloyd Marken


A shout out to the host of this Blogathon, Paul and his awesome blog Pfeiffer Films and Meg Movies. The blog focusses on Michelle Pfeiffer and Meg Ryan with an emphasis on their films One Fine Day and Addicted To Love. The first is a sentimental favourite of mine and the latter not highly regarded by myself so it tells you something about Paul’s writing that I remain fascinated by the new ways he riffs on both. Check it out if you haven’t already. Image result for addicted to love movie gifs

Alas today I’ll be briefly talking about Courage Under Fire, one of my favourite Meg Ryan movies up there with French Kiss, I.Q., and You’ve Got Mail. Meg was America’s Sweetheart in the 1990s, she made well over half a dozen romantic comedies and they were all blockbusters. Yet there were films that showed she was capable of a wide range of work and Courage Under Fire was one that actually met with serious box office.

Directed by Ed Zwick, starring Denzel Washington, Ryan, Lou Diamond Phillips and featuring Matt Damon in his first serious role. It tells the story of a tank officer (Washington) assigned a desk job to investigate the actions of a medevac pilot for a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honour. Ryan plays said pilot Captain Walden who only features in a series of flashback scenes told from different points of view.

Made in 1996 it is one of the first major productions centred around the Persian Gulf War dealing with combat fatigue. The 100 hour ground war of Desert Storm had been an unexpected moral boosting success but slowly the after effects of that war like any war were coming to light including Gulf War syndrome. Zwick has alternated his whole career between war epics and small intimate soap dramas. These two extremes often serve each other well. Here he is putting together a puzzle where you have to assess those being interviewed as telling the truth or not and which Walden seems more real to you. Ryan at the time was playing against type putting on an accent, playing a military officer in a physical dramatic role. Related imageOn top of that she is playing at least 3 different versions of herself and has to make sure she doesn’t play anything too obvious or the spell is broken. I think she does a great job. If that isn’t enough she also has to get the audience emotionally involved in whether she is a hero or not and the results of that truth. I think she does a great job, the film belongs to Washington dealing with his guilt over a blue on blue incident and searching for the truth. He’s every bit the movie star too surely one of the early examples of Denzel being Denzel and us loving him for it. Yet it is Meg Ryan who stood out to me for nailing a different type of role for herself. It’s now been 21 years and it all flew by in a wink. Happy Birthday Meg and see you soon.

-Lloyd Marken



It’s been a while but I’m back with another published piece at Heavy Magazine. Following on from the Top 5 Best Tom Hanks Movies, The Top 10 Best Moments from Game of Thrones I’ve now done a recap of the Top 10 Best Moments from the latest season of the Netflix hit show Stranger Things. Spoiler Alert! Don’t read if you haven’t caught up on this season yet.

I find Strangers Things a frustrating show, on the one hand I kind of love it and then at times I found myself kind of zoning out looking at my phone never compelled to go back and watch scenes I’ve missed.

To this end doing a Top 10 was great because I could just write about those moments that just worked. Be sure to check it out here https://heavymag.com.au/tv-top-10-best-moments-stranger-things-season-2/ and let us know what your favourite moments were.

Heavy is an independent magazine and website that is all about the music and specifically heavy music and supporting the Australian music scene in general. Fortunately for me they do cover film as well and I have been fortunate to have a few things published there.

-Lloyd Marken



I returned last Friday to the Crete Street Theatre in Beenleigh to see the classic Cole Porter musical Anything Goes. If you’re not familiar with the musical you’ll soon recognise plenty of its songs that have seeped into the popular consciousness.

I was blown away by the enthusiasm and effort that had gone into staging the production but this would have been all for nothing if the sense of fun wasn’t there. It was. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/anything-goes-brisbane-review-crete-street-theatre-20171114

Back in April, I enjoyed the Beenleigh Theatre Group’s production of the play Cosi and look forward to seeing more of their work in the future.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. It is the last two where I’ve been fortunate enough to do some coverage of which I’m very grateful.

-Lloyd Marken



The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art opened in Brisbane on the 2nd of December, 2006. Often my friends and I have gone to it and the Queensland Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery for various exhibits over the years. Between all 3 there has been an Andy Warhol exhibit, a David Lynch exhibit, an exhibit of 20th Century art and architecture and a retrospective collection of Valentino’s collection. There has also been an Exhibit about lingerie which was just the best! But we’re not here to talk about that today, we’re here to talk about the recent Marvel exhibit.

There is a program called GOMA Uplate which my gang regularly attend where the Gallery will be open on a Friday night and have entertainment and booze. I enjoy these because often the exhibits as less crowded than during the day on weekends and there is a different vibe in the air. Can still get pretty busy.

20170811_201159Throughout last year filming of Thor: Ragnarok took place in my home state of Queensland mostly at the Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast but also for a few days in the Brisbane CBD. People from London, New York, L.A., Chicago and Toronto will attest what a pain in the arse this can be for locals. I was working out in the burbs at the time and felt a little sad to miss the commotion. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston went and greeted crowds warmly on the streets where production had closed off traffic. Later they went in costume to the Children’s hospitals to spend time with sick kids. I can agree with cynics that this is good PR that would have melted any curmudgeon’s complaints about traffic issues but anybody who has spent time around sick children will tell you there’s no way in hell Hemsworth and Hiddleston didn’t genuinely enjoy giving something back and I think there can’t be enough of such things being done. This follows Johnny Depp and Christian Bale doing similar things and the value it will bring to a child’s joy you can’t put a price on.

The scenes shot in Brisbane are standing in for New York city and I chuckled when I saw the film. I don’t care how many New York yellow cabs drive by in the background, I know those pavements and what a thrill to see them on the big screen. 750 Queenslanders were employed in the making of Thor: Ragnarok. I don’t know how much this played into GOMA getting the Marvel exhibit which featured so many props and costumes from other Marvel movies but it was real joy to have it at Brisbane.

Ten Pics from the Sticks has traditionally been about hiking but we’re branching out with this and maybe subsequent entries which may make the title a little odd but so be it.

Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe Exhibit ran from the 27th of May to the 3rd of September, 2017. It featured various props from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, certain classic comic book issues in glass shelves (this included the first Spider-Man comic from 1962 and I believe the first Captain America comic book from 1942), a lot of costumes and pre-production artwork. This included concept art of the Guardians of the Galaxy that was shown at San Diego Comic Con. 20170811_201902People forget how Guardians of the Galaxy was seen as a risk because it was such an unknown title at the time. That concept art which looks quite a bit different from the eventual look of the team is what sold me on the idea. When the teaser trailer came much later I was all in telling friends this could be the Star Wars of a whole new generation. So I got a picture of me with the concept art. One exhibit showed the artwork, the storyboarding, the pre-viz animation and then the finished product. Another part played a scene where you could dial up or down various sounds effects and music to see how all of those things are layered onto the final soundtrack and how each component plays a vital part. Other areas allowed patrons to stands on mats and appear on screens as various Marvel characters controlling their movements although this was a bit wonky in its execution. Guardians Karen and LloydOne part that I got a real thrill out of was dressing up in props and appearing in front of a green screen where we were overlaid one of the movie posters. We got a really fun group shot of us as the Avengers but out of deference to my friend’s privacy I won’t post this on a public forum. We also ate some snazzy meals down at the Café. While I didn’t take part there was a place for people to draw their own comic books.

Copyright Lloyd Marken

There are usually speakers at GOMA Uplate and our night was no exception.  Local artist and scenic painter Camille Serisier did her talk titled ‘All In The Details’. Some speakers had worked on Thor: Ragnarok and some had not, Camille being one of the latter but she had done for the Australian ballet and various other productions. Her talk took place in the Asgard throne room area of the exhibition (which sounds dodgier than it was – get your minds out of the gutter people) and pointed out various things. She talked about a lacquer of props to make them appear aged, the throne itself was made out of wood but a lot of other elements were plaster applied over Styrofoam blocks. She also talked about the themes of stories and how production design can support this. It was very interesting to hear her speak and I found myself nodding in agreement at some of her insights. I had just come from my interview with Palace CEO Benjamin Zeccola for the Italian Film Festival and was on such a high from that I uncharacteristically approached her after the talk to ask one further question or too. She was lovely to speak to.


You can see much better pictures of the Exhibit form QAGOMA’s website here https://blog.qagoma.qld.gov.au/tag/marvel-creating-the-cinematic-universe/https://blog.qagoma.qld.gov.au/tag/marvel-creating-the-cinematic-universe/


Having worked on smaller scale film productions I was not surprised to find this out but everything you see on film looks vastly different in real life than it does in the movies. Unlike say the dresses from Valentino which looked gorgeous in real life the costumes for films even ones as expensive as this are made with functionality always in mind. How they look under lights, how they will appear in close-up, how the stunt man can do his work in them is always of high priority. That’s why multiple versions of each costume are made for different purposes. Amazingly through the power of movies you often don’t notice these things even when you know about such tricks. That’s not to say these costumes and sets are not made by artists far from it. The level of thought and creativity that goes into this work is really moving. 20170811_203100It was also neat to see the original costumes worn by such stars as Hayley Atwell and Scarlett Johanson and also um gee what are their names uh Greg Evans, uh Greg Humpdump, Joey Rendering, um Bobby Down Senior and Mick Buffaolo. I don’t know I mean Hayley Atwell is the big star I remember. It was also quite a thrill to see so many props form the film Thor: Ragnarok which had not yet opened in cinemas worldwide at the time. This included various weapons, Hulk’s bed from the movie and as a centrepiece the Throneroom from Asgard.


After our tour through the giftshop where I will rue not getting a door mat that said “I Am Groot’ on it with a picture of Baby Groot I caught up with my friends who were observing the live band performing that night. A Melbourne duo called Habits had a certain group rocking away to electronica. My friends and I kept our distance from the gender fluidly dressed boy and girl who conveyed such raw sensuality. Nothing made me feel more 36 then my lack of free spiritedness compared to these youngsters but the truth is this wasn’t my bag when I was 17. When I was 17 Billy Joel hadn’t released an album in 4 years and he was my favourite while others rocked out to Frenzal Rhomb etc. They may not have been my bag but they were talented as fuck, absolute jets playing their instruments and working the crowd. Something else too, they were appreciative of the audience and engaged with them, the lead singer going down into the crowd and writing on the floor provocatively. There was an older man getting into it and I couldn’t help but admire them for their joy in the music and their commitment to be themselves.

That about wrapped it up for us as we stole away into the night having had a wonderful night with cherished friends at a rare movie themed exhibit in my hometown.

-Lloyd Marken

Captain America Karen and Lloyd