COVID-19 DIARY – ‘HOTMESS’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

December 06

I was very fortunate to be back on assignment for Scenestr magazine, this time my first live event since COVID shut down the Brisbane Comedy Festival in March.

It was at The Sideshow in Brisbane’s West End. West End has its own character and history as a southside boy from the suburbs I am fairly ignorant of.

It’s down from the city’s South Bank precinct which I am more familiar with which is a giant cultural and restaurant hub with museums, art gallery and markets.

West End is the cheaper hippier end of this.

I remember going to see show with David Hasselholf years ago and seeing young people eating on a window sill out of saucepans in an apartment above a set of shops and just being delighted by it.

Places like West End are in danger of losing such culture with increased urban development but it was alive and well on sunday night December 6.

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We entered what looked like a regular cafe, went up some stairs, got served at some makeshift bar and sat on pretty simple chairs. Nobody was wearing masks, we just didn’t do that in Queensland.

There were 13 active cases in the state.

The venue had the setting of being in someone’s large living room for a get together on a sunday arvo for a few laughs.

It was good to have a laugh.

The comedians were diverse in their styles and backgrounds and led by MC Steph Tisdell who got the crowd supporting them fully and open to the experimentation of the event.

You can read my review here https://scenestr.com.au/comedy/hot-mess-comedy-brisbane-review-the-sideshow-20201208

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.

With some delight we saw some Christmas decorations and entered a Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant we had seen packed only two hours later completely empty.
As someone who has always enjoyed quiet places Karen and I settled in for some fried rice.
There was a garden inside with a pond and we had the whole place to ourselves as West End started to quiet down for the night.

The West End Garden Restaurant staff were so good to us, the food was fantastic and the whole place was just wonderful. Karen and I really enjoyed our night out.

Numbers were climbing around the word, I was worried about people who lived there. It was almost surreal what was happening in Australia. It felt like we being kept out of some sick game although I’m sure Victorians would agree they had had their fill.

On the 6th of December the World Health Organisation reported there had been 66,184,789 cases globally with a daily increase of 652,608.

1 million 5 hundred 2 twenty 6 six thousand and 6 hundred and 6 sixty 2 two deaths.

1,526,662 deaths globally from COVID.

With a daily increase of 10,767.

In Australia there had been 27,956 confirmed cases with a daily increase of seven. There had been 908 deaths.

In Canada there had been 402,569 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 6,299. There had been 12,496 deaths with a daily increase of 89.

In the United Kingdom there had been 1,705,975 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 15,539. There had been 61,014 deaths with a daily increase of 397.

In India there had been 9,644,222 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 36,011. There had been 140,182 deaths with a daily increase of 482.

In the United States of America the day before, the 5th of December had been a day of big numbers. A new record for daily increase in confirmed cases – 218,671. The highest number of daily recorded deaths since March and April – 2,844.

On the 6th of December there had been 14,191,298 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 213,127. There had been 276,503 deaths with a daily increase of 2,426.

-Lloyd Marken

DAVE HUGHES’S ‘RIDICULOUS’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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On Friday the 13th of March, 2020 I was on assignment for Scenestr magazine at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. I was there to see famous stand-up comedian Dave Hughes.

Earlier in the week the World Health Organisation had labelled the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic. Italy hit with several cases had shut down the country to having people only going to work. France shut down children attending school.

Friday morning the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been urging people to attend the weekend football. By afternoon he was saying that come Monday no large crowds of 500 or more could gather in public.

A member of his cabinet, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton had tested positive for the virus. The Formula 1 in Melbourne had been cancelled as had the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Wall Street had seen the biggest falls in stocks in one day of trading since the crash of 1987.

Heading into the weekend there was no doubt we were about to experience an economic recession, see our country shut down travel, business and events as much as possible. The most vulnerable in our community to the disease are also the most vulnerable to the pressures that will come to supermarket stocks, health care support or temporary employment.

We’re in for some rough days ahead and so it was some comfort to find quite a few people out at the Brisbane Comedy Festival ready to laugh and to see Dave Hughes a stand-up as recognisable and reliable as any stand-up in this country.

Hughesy made us laugh, laugh about the virus, laugh at ourselves, laugh at him and laugh at our lives. It was a nice reminder of how we need to face the days ahead. With support for our fellow humans and with a sense of hope and optimism. It was a privilege to attend and you can read my review here https://scenestr.com.au/comedy/dave-hughes-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2020-20200316

Karen and I caught up with some friends beforehand and enjoyed our beloved snack bar menu pizzas from the Powerhouse. Then we were off to the Powerhouse Theatre, the largest venue at the Powerhouse reserved for big stars, like Hughesy, to perform.

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.

The following Monday, the Brisbane Comedy Festival was cancelled. In addition to big name comedians, there are a lot of shows and acts there that run on the smell of an oily rag with performers who sometimes work other jobs during the day. Such cancellations are going to provide them with significant challenges in the weeks ahead too but I know we all want to keep each other safe.

I hope you’re safe, I hope you are able to get toilet paper in your part of the world, I hope we treat each other right and help each other in the weeks ahead. I’ll try me best to do so.

-Lloyd Marken

AARON CHEN’S ‘MR CIGARETTE’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The annual Brisbane Comedy Festival has kicked off and I was lucky to attend stand-up comedian Aaron Chen’s new show at the Turbine Studio, Brisbane Powerhouse on assignment for Scenestr.

I came across Chen last year when I attended After Hours and reviewed it for Weekend Notes. After Hours was hosted by Dusty Rich and featured artists with shows doing medleys or their best number or scene and stand-ups effectively doing a tight 5 set. That night Rhys Nicholson absolutely killed and was the best on the night but Chen caught my attention with his swagger commanding presence on stage milking laughs out of thin air on the sheer strength of his persona. So I was keen to see his show and am happy to report everything I thought of Aaron Chen after those five minutes last year remains true.

You can read my review here https://scenestr.com.au/comedy/aaron-chen-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2020-20200226

My customary photos from the event I am sad to report are lacking because I left my phone at home. Thankfully Karen has stepped in and come to the rescue so there are some photos thanks to her. Hope you enjoy.

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

RASA REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I saw my sixth and final Wonderland show on assignment for Scenestr magazine last Friday evening. I feel incredibly lucky to continue to work for Scenestr and review some amazing talent and work for them.

Karen and I went and saw stand-up comedian Ashwin Segkar’s show Rasa which we both enjoyed and was a great way to cap off the festival for another year. You can read my review here https://scenestr.com.au/comedy/ashwin-segkar-rasa-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-2019-20191203

Afterwards Karen and I did partake some more of beloved pepperoni and basil and margherita pizzas at the Brisbane Powerhouse bar. Another special year at Wonderland had come to an end. What will 2020 bring?

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

 

 

GIANTESS REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I was back at MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture last week to see Giantess on Thursday night at the Turbine Studio, Brisbane Powerhouse on assignment for Scenestr. Written and performed by transgender stand-up Cassie Workman, it has won numerous awards since its debut. Following Trade by Impromafia, a show I deeply enjoyed and felt privileged to attend, this was a quieter performance that proved touching with its message and the demure but steely presence of Cassie herself. What a wonderful thing it is live in a city where such a festival provides an outlet for artists and attraction for audiences.

You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/cassie-workman-giantess-brisbane-review-melt-festival-20190709

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We took in our surroundings a bit more with the ice-block float hanging from the ceiling as part of the MELT festivities at the iconic Brisbane Powerhouse. We also grabbed the beloved bar snack menu pizzas – pepperoni for me and tomato and basil (margherita according to others) for Karen. While enjoying our pizzas outside on the balcony our possum came by to see if we’d let some scraps come our way. Unfortunately nobody told him/her how seriously Karen and I take our pizza eating.

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

CHRIS MARTIN: CLAW MACHINE REVIEW AVAILABLE ON WEEKEND NOTES

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It is a great privilege to have been on assignment with Weekend Notes for the second time last Saturday to review comedian Chris Martin’s new show Claw Machine. Claw Machine is being performed at Pincadia (a bar serving a burger joint menu and full of pinball and retro arcade machines and I mean full to the brim) as part of the Anywhere Festival where shows happen all around the city in odd venues. Albeit down in the bowels of Pincadia the setting didn’t appear too different from any comedy club basement but the venue itself the heritage listed Moreton Rubber Building is impressively unique.

I was looking forward to the show after seeing Chris Martin as one of the commentators at the Queensland Theatresports Championships which was part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival this year. He did not disappoint, the show ambles along for close to an hour and Martin has a way of relaxing you into his set that you almost forget a punchline is coming. He’s got an interesting style, solid timing and an effortlessly likeable quality about him. A scientist by trade I stand in awe of him and so many other talented artists in my fair city plugging away at their craft and creating so much entertainment and culture for Brisbanites. You can read my review here https://www.weekendnotes.com/chris-martin-claw-machine/

Weekend Notes are a growing online magazine with a wealth of contributors based out of several cities across the United Kingdom, Australia and New York. Articles are leisure related and can include a wide variety of subjects from rainforest hikes to cultural festivals, from what hot new play is on at your underground theatre to a ultra trendy eatery. Writers are paid for their work based partly on how many views their articles get so please feel free to stop by and show some love.

-Lloyd Marken

TIM FERGUSON’S ‘A FAST LIFE ON WHEELS’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Following ImproMafia‘s Heartfelt High on Tuesday night we next made plans to catch up with some friends on Saturday for the last round of After Hours and of course if we were going to do that then we decided we would attend Queensland Theatresports Championships the same night at 7:45pm. So on Saturday 23MAR2019 that’s exactly what we did. There were no pepperoni pizzas or chips with aioli though beloved they remain. We went up to the balcony and chatted with an airline employee from Hong Kong before the show began. I still marvel that this show is for free and it adds so much to the festival. One team, BCF, we’d seen compete two weeks earlier once again they were great as was everyone.

 

Afterwards I got some lemon, lime & bitters and sat down with Karen killing time. I ran into the talented sketch comedian Mark Lombard who confirmed with me that I had written the review of Brisburned@Work for Scenestr. He thanked me for the review and I congratulated him on the show. I enjoyed the exchange. You see performers around all the time at the Festival and I never quite know what to do but Mark did.

As we got closer to the time for After Hours our friends arrived and we went outside to the river to meet them. I talked up the highlight reel aspect of the first After Hours we saw but noted it could be different tonight and boy am I glad I added that disclaimer. We descended to the Turbine Studio that night and saw something more akin to what I was expecting the first time. Some comedian came out snorting and rubbing his nose before referencing he’d been drinking. Another felt he was dying and referenced that a fellow comedian Demi Lardner was laughing at him backstage while this happened. I don’t know if anybody was trying out rawer or edgier material for this particular show but if not, they were hardly conservative acts. Also with the festival wrapping up there were no cabaret shows trying to sell last show tickets, just comedians plying their trade. We saw Demi Lardner (energetic and brash – totally owning her set), Matt Stewart (the nicest and one of the funnier people on the night), Tom Ballard (the biggest name probably there that night and a solid closer although even he seemed to note there was a lot of anger in his bit). Blake Freeman (who does the kind of gross awkward humour that makes you nervous but kind of gets away with it because there’s something so likeable there). There were two more and I liked them but their names escape me. Dusty Rich was of course on hand to compere and came away the winner of the night doing some audience interaction with a big unit named Cammo. The only thing funnier for me was Ballard explaining where smashed avo comes from.  We stole off into the night again certainly having experienced an After Hours not as good as the first one we saw but still remaining a show we would be eager to see next year. In fact a strong had been made to see if more than once every year!

That left my assignment for Scenestr magazine the next day over at the Ithaca Auditorium in Brisbane City Hall at 5pm. If you’re of a certain age you know of the Doug Anthony All Stars, they were just before my time but I saw some old The Big Gig episodes on Foxtel in the 90s and heard them whispered about in awe. One member Paul McDermott became a big deal to me with a little show called Good News Week which was of my time.

A relative of mine had MS and I saw her fight it for two decades. I took part in the fundraising Moonlight Walks for MS along my city’s river in 2007, 2009 and 2010  thinking about her and many like her. Some of them taking part in the walk.

You see Tim Ferguson has MS, he’s 55 and he’s in a wheelchair. He was diagnosed in 1996 and went public in 2010. That was nine years ago when he walked with a cane. Diagnosis means one thing in terms of how things are going to end but that one thing is coming for us all. There was something deep and shared in Tim’s show. There was a little boy talking about his Dad, a rebel apologising, an young man passing on wise counsel, a sick man proving his virility, an old man looking forward to the future. I told Mark Lombard on Saturday night that Brisburned@Work was Karen’s favourite show at the festival and I was telling the truth. On Sunday night we left the auditorium and Karen turned to me and said “I have a new favourite.”

You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/tim-ferguson-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2019-20190326

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.

That concluded Brisbane Comedy Festival 2019, I had been on assignment 4 times with Scenestr, once for Weekend Notes and seen all up 11 shows. It has been quite a month and I feel really blessed and I thank you for coming along for the ride.

-Lloyd Marken

 

AFTER HOURS REVIEW AVAILABLE ON WEEKEND NOTES

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It was Saturday the 9th of March at the Brisbane Comedy Festival, and Karen and I were having a wonderful time. We had arrived mid afternoon on a sunny day, attended a performance of Brisburned@Work for Scenestr which Karen really enjoyed, taken in a session of Queensland Theatresports, run into some people we knew and really had a great time and had our fill of the tasty bar food. Yet the day was not yet over as we descended the stairs that led to the Turbine Studio.

The Turbine Studio a smaller more intimate venue is housed right next door right across the Visy Theatre on the same floor – the river level. Despite seeing some fantastic shows at their more glamourous cousin the Powerhouse Theatre I have to admit I have a soft spot for these two venues and maybe in particular the Turbine studio just because it tends feature shows or entertainers that are building towards something. I saw Nath Valvo at the Turbine Studio when he was big in Melbourne but growing his fanbase here, one of the first performances of Love/Hate Actually, Cassie George in There’s Something About Mary(s), the promising debut of the Grass Is Dead On The Other Side and so as I headed to see After Hours at the same venue it felt appropriate. By choosing to attend I was in on a secret, by staying later I was somehow more hardcore and more genuine than other audiences but little did I realise what a treat I was in for. You can read more of my thoughts here https://www.weekendnotes.com/after-hours-brisbane-comedy-festival/

Afterwards Karen and I headed off into the night to home and bed. It had been a good day spent at the Brisbane Comedy Festival 2019.

Weekend Notes are a growing online magazine with a wealth of contributors based out of several cities across the United Kingdom, Australia and New York. Articles are leisure related and can include a wide variety of subjects from rainforest hikes to cultural festivals, from what hot new play is on at your underground theatre to a ultra trendy eatery. Writers are paid for their work based partly on how many views their articles get so please feel free to stop by and show some love.

-Lloyd Marken

DANIELLE WALKER’S ‘MYTHS AND LEGENDS’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Following the hilarious Georgie Carroll, I got to review for Scenestr emerging talent Danielle Walker’s new show at the 2019 Brisbane Comedy Festival. We were back in the Rooftop Terrace this time on a Friday and yes Karen and I again partook of the bar food downstairs which included some pizzas. Danielle Walker is an excellent stand-up and you can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/danielle-walker-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2019-20190307

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

GEORGIE CARROLL’S ‘TREAT YOURSELF’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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It is once again a great joy and privilege to attend shows at the Brisbane Comedy Festival 2019 for Scenestr magazine. I went for the first time last year to the 9th Brisbane Comedy Festival where I saw Tom Animated! from Impromafia, Rich Hall, Tom Gleeson’s Sure Thing, and Convince Me! Comedy Debates to review for Scenestr magazine.

First show was last Tuesday night to see Georgie Carroll who I am familiar with due to appearances on the entertaining television program Have You Been Paying Attention? My interest in seeing her though was due to her work as a nurse, as a former wardie I was interested in seeing a comedic slant on the work of hospital staff from someone who knows what they’re talking about.

We were back in the Brisbane Powerhouse which continues to grab my interest with its clever installations and lighting in a setting that evokes so much history. We saw Georgie perform in the Rooftop Terrace which was new since I’ve previously only gone to shows on the two bottom floors. It was a relatively simple room, similar to some others and about the right size for the crowd involved. Still always exciting to go somewhere new and I enjoyed the views.

Georgie was on stage as we entered and made small talk with the crowd in the front. That’s kind of amazing to be that comfortable and ready to go with your audience before the show. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/nurse-georgie-carroll-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2019-20190227

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