100 POSTS PUBLISHED WITH SCENESTR

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The night of my first assignment for Scenestr magazine 21MAR207. Copyright Karen Marken.

Last Friday I reached a milestone with Scenestr magazine, I have now had 100 posts published with them online or in their printed copies on the street. This all started with a review I submitted to them of Hidden Figures that Karen had won tickets to see. The review was published 23 February, 2017.

Within a couple of months I realised if I wanted to make the most of my opportunities there I would have to put my hand up to do interviews. Despite having done this in the past at university I was still quite nervous when I did my first interview with the stars of Grease: The Arena Spectacular Meghan O’Shea and Drew Weston almost two years ago. Knowing it scared me made me confident it would be truly rewarding and that turned out to be true.

In 2018 there were 50 posts published online of my work, it is doubtful I will match that output moving forward, there are things I am currently pursuing away from Scenestr but I am grateful to continue my work for the biggest street press magazine in the country.

The opportunity Scenestr gives writers and how that flows onto the rest of the print industry is extraordinary. I hope to be working for them for a long time yet.

Of the 100 posts published, 10% were reviews of stand-up comedians and their shows, 29% were theatre reviews, 28% were film reviews, 32% were interviews and 1% were reviews of Cher concerts.

Allow me to indulge in pointing out some personal highlights such as interviewing DeAnne Smith, Ali McGregor, Palace Cinemas CEO Benjamin Zeccola, Gravity and Other Myths circus performer Jascha Boyce, theatre director Row Blackshaw, Cassie George, talking to director Clare Watson about Our Town, an interview with comedian Sammy J, and my cover story with SNL star Michael Che.

Going to the Young Australian Filmmakers Programme at Byron Bay Film Festival and talking to young director Cody-Cameron Brown about Don Ritchie, OAM, introducing my wife to the cast of Aladdin backstage, a dinner with Lauren Weisberger where my friend Karen B was also in attendance at the Brisbane Writers Festival, slugging back premium blended whisky and sliders at the Kingsman: The Golden Circle preview screening, attending the opening nights of the 2017 Cine Latino Film Festival, the 2018 Italian Film Festival, Brisbane International Film Festival 2018, taking Karen to see Cher last year in concert, having stand-up Tom Gleeson share my review of his show on Facebook.

Some of the best shows I saw were Circa’s Humans, seeing Love/Hate Actually debut at Wonderland 2017England by Tim Crouch at Metro Arts, seeing The Duke by Shon Dale-Jones, Randy Writes A Novel by Randy Feltface, Tim Ferguson’s A Fast Life On Wheels and my first assignment with Scenestr reviewing Queensland Ballet’s Raw.

If you’re been along with me for part of the journey I hope you have enjoyed the ride, I thank you for your support and I hope to continue with you by my side. Two years ago this milestone seemed very distant if even possible and it has been one of the great joys of my life to have had this happen to me at 36 when I was feeling that life was kind of passing me by. I feel very grateful to my editors for their support and knowledge and to all our readers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

http://scenestr.com.au/blog/Lloyd-Marken

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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‘TITANIC: THE MOVIE, THE PLAY’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON WEEKEND NOTES

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Long term readers will note I’ve seen a few productions of Act/React and have enjoyed their work. For Anywhere Festival this year they have brought back a production they mounted back in 2016 before I knew of them called Titanic: The Movie, The Play.

After checking out Chris Martin’s Claw Machine at Pincadia, Karen and I headed off to the nearby Queensland Maritime Museum to see a late performance of the comedic take on the film.

Unlike their production of Kiss of the Vampire Squid which was performed on HMAS Diamantina last year as part of Anywhere Theatre Festival 2018 this was not a fully improvised production but scripted. It did feature some mainstays of Impromafia and the newly formed The Shadow Collective in the cast so there was lots of laughs had from on the moment developments.

The immersive aspects of the production mean no two performances will be the same and create a real joy in the audience. I thought there was a real charm to the production and following the excellent Love/Hate Actually I expect big things to continue happening for Act/React. Amy Currie and Natalie Bochenski are taking Love/Hate Actually to Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year for starters.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had a review I wrote of the show published with Weekend Notes. You can read it here here https://www.weekendnotes.com/titanic-the-movie-the-play-anywhere-festival/ and if you’re local you can still purchase tickets for this weekend if it sounds like your bag.

The Anywhere Festival for 2019 is a marvellous thing that happens in my city and I feel very grateful to have taken in two great shows this year at such interesting venues.

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

‘TWO MAN TARANTINO’ AND ‘CLAIRE HEALEY’ REVIEWS AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Friday night and I saw my two final shows at Wonderland for 2018 on assignment with Scenestr, one I was eagerly anticipating Two Man Tarantino and the other Claire Healy: (Get A) Real Job interested me with its subject matter.

The week was one of those weeks that you dream about as a freelance writer, Wednesday night I was on assignment for a preview screening of a movie with one publication and then I was due to see three shows at Wonderland on Thursday and Friday night. They were good shows, all with something to offer it is true but there are criticisms I have. One thing that struck me about both shows that concluded my attendance at the festival this year was how they got better as they went along and finished strongly. I walked out of Claire Healy’s one-woman show late Friday night and felt a little bit better about the movie I’d seen Wednesday, a little bit better about the shows I’d seen at Wonderland that week and a little bit better about life in general. Not bad.

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You can read my review for Two Man Tarantino here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/two-man-tarantino-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-2018-20181203 and Claire Healy here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/claire-healy-get-a-real-job-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-2018-20181203

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The five shows I saw at Wonderland 2017 I enjoyed more but I felt with a lot of the shows this year I was seeing artists earlier in their careers taking it to the next level, doing more with less, refining their art and figuring out what they want to achieve. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

At Wonderland 2017 I felt like seeing Nath Valvo gave me an insight into what Melbourne already knew, that here was a comedian about to go national. Love/Hate Actually in 2018 returned triumphantly to Wonderland following a tour that took in amongst other places Ipswich, the Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne and Fiji. Michelle Zahner has taken A Modern Guide to Heroism and Sidekickery to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Who knows where we will see Claire Healy, Anisa Nandaula, Adam Koudi, Kayne Falkiner, Vashti Hughes, Matt Abell-King, Emily Kristopher, Stephen Hirst and Sam Bowden next.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 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 Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and now Victoria! every month too.

-Lloyd Marken

 

LARRY’S ODYSSEY REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I am in my current second year as a freelance writer with Scenestr magazine and starting to enjoy a second ride on some wonderful Merry-Go-Rounds. This is true of the Wonderland Festival which a year ago I was completely unaware of. A heady mix of cabaret, music, comedy and burlesque acts from around the country all performing for two weeks at the Brisbane Powerhouse (an old 1920s powerstation, closed in 1971 and renovated and re-purposed in 2000 as a cultural hub). Last year I considered myself very lucky to cover five acts for Scenestr who were just tremendous – Randy Writes A Novel, Wasteland, Love/Hate ActuallyNath Valvo and Heroism and Sidekickery. I also went and saw There’s Something About Mary(s) after interviewing star Cassie George for Scenestr. This year in another stroke of luck I get to cover five shows again which I really don’t take for granted. I’m really looking forward to Two Man Tarantino and going to see Love/Hate Actually again with my friends.

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Outside the Graffiti Room. Copyright Lloyd Marken.

On opening night though of Wonderland 2018 I went to see Larry’s Odyssey, a brave type of performance with lots of audience interaction. The performance was in the Graffitti Room, a space I hadn’t attended before and proved perfect for this show. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/larry-s-odyssey-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-2018-20181123

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Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 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 Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and now Victoria! every month too.

-Lloyd Marken

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KISS OF THE VAMPIRE SQUID REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The Anywhere Theatre Festival is currently running throughout my hometown of Brisbane. Act/React Theatre were doing their new show Kiss of the Vampire Squid as part of it at the Queensland Maritime Museum onboard HMAS Diamantina. HMAS Diamantina was the last World War II era ship to leave RAN service in 1980. The quarterdeck where the show was performed is where high ranking Japanese officers took part in surrender ceremonies of islands in the Pacific. This was such a unique setting for a venue from a group of performers I respect so much that I was really hoping I would get a chance to see the show.

I was even luckier than that, I got a chance to review it for Scenestr magazine attending the night of the final performance. I have seen shows from Act/React before including Love/Hate Actually and earlier this year one of the Convince Me comedy debates. I have also attended two shows by ImproMafia who share a lot of their same talent. In fact Kiss of the Vampire Squid was more similar to the comedy improv performances of Lord of the Thrones and Animated! from ImproMafia than say the thoughtfully prepared brilliance of Love/Hate Actually.

However you define it though, the show was excellent and Karen and I really enjoyed ourselves. You can read more of my thoughts here  http://scenestr.com.au/arts/kiss-of-the-vampire-squid-brisbane-review-anywhere-theatre-festival-20180521

I don’t want to belabour the point, some performances are better than others when it comes to improv but I really do marvel at what these people do and how well they consistently pull it off. To have them part of the Brisbane cultural scene means a lot and they travel too so keep your eye out for them appearing in your neck of the woods.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 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

‘ANIMATED!’ BY IMPROMAFIA REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Impromafia have to be one of the hottest tickets in town when they come up with a new show. An Improv Comedy Sketch Troupe they’re now firmly established in my hometown and still touring around the country and competing in International Comedy Sketch competitions. I was lucky enough to review their latest show Animated! at the Brisbane Comedy Festival for Scenestr Magazine. I had previously seen them last year at the Metro Arts Theatre with their Game of Thrones parody Lord of the Thrones. Some members have also formed Act/React Theatre Group whom I saw perform Love/Hate Actually at the Wonderland Festival in December. In fact some of the performers were different this time but just as good. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/animated-an-improvised-musical-fairytale-review-brisbane-comedy-festival-2018-20180316 I believe Metro Arts is a better venue for sketch comedy than the Brisbane City Hall and a Saturday night a better time but these guy and gals never fail to put on a first rate show that makes you laugh. All the more impressive for the fact that they come up with the entire thing on the night and no performance is ever the same. I look forward to their next show.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 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

ALEX WILLIAMSON, NATH VALVO AND HEROISM AND SIDEKICKERY REVIEWS AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The second and final weekend of the Wonderland Festival was a rollercoaster ride of up and downs. Having seen Love/Hate Actually on Thursday night I set off to attend a concert by stand-up comedian Alex Williamson at the Old Museum before returning to Wonderland for the rest of the weekend.

I love going to see stand-ups, in fact a lot of the shows I saw at Wonderland were comedies or comedian shows. The Old Museum in Brisbane is not far from where I used to work as hospital wardsman many years ago. I’ve been there over the years when they had the French Festival there, to see my sister in law perform as a member of Queensland Wind and Brass, it is the home of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. There were no elderly volunteers serving homemade scones with tea this night though. Karen and I approached two young women at the canteen who told us no food was available but would we like a drink. No peanuts, no chips, nothing, nada. They kindly told me where the nearest eating venue was and we ended up getting some nice truffle chips before racing back to the venue.

We found a good spot with twenty minutes to go until the allotted time of 7:30pm. I whispered to Karen that the show would most likely start at 7:45pm. As time went on I began to notice most of the audience was younger than us and Karen did not approve of all the baseball caps being worn indoors. I’ve never really cared for that absurd protocol and enjoyed the lively atmosphere of people kicking back after a hard week at work ready to laugh. A few dared each other to race out and grab another drink having already finished the one they had by 7:35pm. Sure enough the show kicked off at 7:45pm and within a minute Karen had gone stone faced. I leaned in and told her I had to stay to review the show but if she wanted to leave -she could but she didn’t.

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I was faced with a conundrum, this was the first time I had really seen a show for Scenestr and not enjoyed it. I wanted to express that but I also wanted to be fair to the comedian who had allowed us to attend his show to give an honest and fair review. Alex Williamson is extremely popular, engages with his fan base, commands attention on stage and give his all. Most of his comedy for me though lacked depth and rarely made me laugh. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/alex-williamson-brisbane-review-the-old-museum-20171206 I actually believe Williamson is very talented and could mature into a comedian who makes me laugh one day.

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Which brings us to Nath Valvo, a stand-up we saw at Wonderland Festival the next night. Like the puppet Randy the week before I laughed quite a lot through Nath’s routine. Valvo’s audience was full of people of all different ages, backgrounds, etc. We all laughed together in recognition of so many truths that felt familiar to all of us. Of course the key was wit, timing, delivery, pacing not just insight. Comedy is a tricky thing to review, repeat some of the jokes and you’ll spoilt them with your delivery and lack of context, over analyse too much and anything ceases to be funny. Its hard to explain what is funny but you know it because people laugh and if it isn’t funny they don’t. To that end wasn’t Alex Williamson just as funny then. Well not to me and therein lies the rub. Given I saw them one night after the other and had such different reactions it was fascinating to compare the two but in the end that’s just coincidence. I found Nath Valvo really funny and you can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/nath-valvo-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171204

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The next day we saw Nath again on a sunday afternoon before going to see the final show I was to attend at WonderlandA Modern Guide to Heroism and Sidekickery. Conceived and performed by Michelle Zahner with some help from the audience it was a humble intimate piece that poked fun at comic book tropes while delivering a heartfelt message of the little ways we can be heroic in our own lives. I’m curious to see how the show could expand without spoiling what makes it so special. Zahner has such a likeable engaging stage presence that I think no matter what the piece will remain charming and smart. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/the-modern-guide-to-heroism-and-sidekickery-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171205

I felt really lucky to attend all the shows I got to see and review and/or review at Wonderland and hope to get more opportunities 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. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken