JOHN BIRMINGHAM: ON FATHER IN CONVERSATION WITH PAUL BARCLAY REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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My father is the greatest man I know, strong, dependable and smart. He is the rock of our family and a giant I stand in awe of. Long ago I came of age and saw that he was just a man like us all but he remains someone I deeply admire and cherish. He will turn 75 this December and as a family we savour the time left together, it gives me some peace to know that my parents became grandparents last October, they have earned that milestone and time was running out.

Time ran out for author John Birmingham and his family a little while back and the result for John was six months of depression. When he came out of it he wrote On Father and knowing him by reputation I sought a chance to see him talk about On Father at the Brisbane Powerhouse as part of the series Writers+IdeasScenestr made it possible and you can read my review of what I saw here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/john-birmingham-on-father-in-conversation-with-paul-barclay-review-brisbane-powerhouse-20190417

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

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HELLBOY REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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It was a privilege to be on assignment for Scenestr again to review a movie. This time Karen and I went to a critic’s screening in Gold Class at Chermside cinemas. We were given complimentary drinks and popcorn as well and I got to write a film review.

I saw the original in 2004 with Ron Perlman and was fairly blasé about it, having enjoyed the previous film from Guillermo del Toro – Blade II. I’ve heard good things but never got around to the sequel The Golden Army or reading any of the comics but they’re quite admired. I suspect true fans will be elated and disappointed in equal measure by this reboot. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/movies-and-tv/hellboy-review-20190411

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Having started in 1993 they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland every month.

-Lloyd Marken

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH DR KEVIN LARKIN AVAILABLE AT QUEENSLAND COLLEGE OF TEACHERS

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Where I currently work, I have been given the occasional opportunity to interview some remarkable people. During the middle of March I spoke to Dr Kevin Larkin who was recently awarded the 2018 Australian University Teacher of the Year. Dr Larkin has a passion for teaching, even at a young age he has always sought out new challenges and considered the bigger picture. Yet no matter how far reaching his work becomes, it remains centred around the individual relationship between teacher and student and how to get the best out of that.

It was privilege to speak to him and you can find the published interview here. Getting to do this work at the Queensland College of Teachers affords me the opportunity to learn from experienced and talented writers.

Teacher stories highlight the profession and promote the achievements of some great individuals. In their individual experiences are examples we can all learn from.

You can read many more inspiring stories on the QCT website.

-Lloyd Marken

DANGEROUS LIAISONS AIN’T YOUR GRANDMA’S BALLET

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Queensland Ballet’s Dangerous Liaisons is sexy and not for the brief simulations of fornication on stage although that certainly proves inspiring, nor is it the sensual costumes made out of rich fabrics in royal colours, and nor is it the finely toned physiques of the dancers present some of them wearing pants so tight you would see less definition if their legs had been painted instead. All these things are sexy as hell but the sexiest thing of all is the attitude present in this text and those who have adapted it.

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Queensland Ballet‘s mantra for the 2019 Season is “Move Boldly” and in this production they have. In the first five minutes we are introduced to widow Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil getting busy with a lover on the coffin of her late husband. From there we meet a wealth of characters from the French aristocracy of the late 1700s living in decadence and luxury. It seems there’s not a lot to do except have your way with people one way or another as per the original novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.

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The text has been adapted previously most famously in 1988 with Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer a film I’ve seen but can’t remember a lot about. My memories of the modern day set Cruel Intentions of 1999 (one of the best years of my life) which moved the setting to New York and high school served me far better although there seemed to be some extra characters I couldn’t recall here.

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Knowing the plot will serve you well in order to keep track of things, after all there’s no dialogue in ballet but the important stuff is clear. Isabelle challenges Vicomete Sebastien de Valmount to win over virginal Cecile Volanges as revenge for the fact that coffin boy Comte de Gercourt is now engaged to her. Well actually that might not be so clear but you get a good sense of who is a decent type, who’s in love, who’s innocent and who’s depraved and how that might change. There’s some sneaky humour and a tragic outcome. You might even surprise yourself with where your sympathies lie.

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Artistic Associate of the Royal Ballet continues his association with Queensland Ballet in choreographing this ballet. Beyond all the bold statements and sexy themes is some first rate dancing. I won’t pretend to know I’m an expert on such things but Cecille’s solo was breathtaking of a fragile unjaded soul expressing the joy of first love. Two couplings in particular were very evocative and on the night we went, Laura Hidalgo as Isabelle utterly owned the world as she strutted across stage in her underwear completely beating down the will of Valmount. Some of the lifts in the partnerships were breathtaking in their fluidity and strength.

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Under the stewardship of Artistic Director Li Cunxin continues to go from strength to strength with the entire team he has with him. If I was not as moved as I was two years earlier with their program Raw the sexiness of their Dangerous Liaisons certainly left me stirred.

-Lloyd Marken