Having been chugging along on the ‘X-Men, X-Perience’ worldwide publicity train for days already, you’d think that Peter Dinklage would be at least slightly less forthcoming when I meet him at the Melbourne press junket.
Dinklage lesson one: never underestimate the man’s ability to turn on the charm. Flanked by clipboard-wielding staff and looming cameras, the actor smiles warmly at yet another batch of journalists filing into the bright hotel room. He greets us in an American accent that takes a moment to adjust to, if (like me), you’ve been following his precarious journey as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones with white-knuckled concern.
But we’re not here to discuss the Iron Throne, dragons and trials by combat. Today is all about X-Men: Days of Future Past, and our allotted slice of junket time is already ticking away.
Even the people passing by Southbank’s Opera Centre would’ve heard the final notes of Les Misérables ring out from the rehearsal room this morning. It’s just two weeks into preparation, and the cast of the Australian production, standing in choir formation in plain clothes, don’t miss a beat when they starting to perform ‘Do you hear the people sing’ in hushed, urgent tones. With only a piano behind them, the 30-strong group of men and women raise their voices to the rallying chorus of the finale. It’s a spine-tingling wall of sound. Even without the military tattoo drumming in time, for a moment we’re there on the barricades, defying soldiers and clinging onto freedom.
This is our first taste of the new Australian production of British theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s new version of Les Misérables. The world’s longest-running musical has seen several large-scale reinventions in its 29 years, but this one could be the most ambitious yet.… Read more
If you think Dr. Martens are ‘just shoes’, then you’ve probably never laced your feet into a yellow-stitched, air-cushioned, heat-welded pair of Docs and felt their indestructible power. Buying your first pair of DMs is a defining moment. Breaking them in is part of the ritual.
Docs also represent a lot more than reliable footwear. Since the original eight-eyelet leather boot came off the production line in 1960, subcultures and individuals have taken them up as a symbol of self-expression. Ska-loving skinheads donned shiny oxblood steelcaps in the’70s, grunge girls of the ’90s took to the chunky Mary Janes, and new-rave scenesters embraced the patent-leather neon pinks and purples. Bonus DM fact: some of the first people to champion the boots were German women over the age of 40, back when they were still being made by German doctor Klaus Maertens.
Over five decades later, they haven’t stopped evolving. Recently, the brand launched its #standforsomething campaign.… Read more
“Hearing about the diagnosis was a massive shock. It’s still something that nearly brings me to tears when I look back to that day.” This is Mark Davis: a New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based dad whose life changed forever the moment his son Blake was diagnosed with severe autism last year. As his family are not Australian residents, four-year-old Blake is not able to receive financial aid from the government for his early intervention treatment. Many parents would have been at a loss, but Davis – music-lover and determined father – came up with a plan. Yesterday marked the release of Songs for Blake: an album that Davis put together with the help of 24 artists who answered his call, including Seattle songwriter Shawn Smith and New Zealand’s Ladyhawke. You can see the full track listing on the website. On the day of the record’s release, we spoke to Mark about the project.… Read more
When you think about it, choosing not to show up early to see a support band feels a bit counter-intuitive. Why wouldn’t you want to tack on an extra helping of live music to your night? Not to mention that missing out on the support means missing out on future bragging rights. Everyone loves to mention how they used to watch Dan Sultan play to piddling crowds at the Evelyn. Sultan might’ve played a support act recently, but that time, it was for Bruce Springsteen.
Skipping the support act also means that lesser-known bands aren’t getting the exposure they deserve. Melbourne’s live music scene is teeming with talent, but sometimes, the little guys and the live venues need a leg-up.
Enter Cake Wines: the bourgeoning Aussie wine boutique owned by young wine lovers and culture champions Mike Smith and Glen Cassidy. In less than three years, the Sydney-based, Adelaide Hills-grown label has gained a solid reputation around the country – not only for making quality wine, but also for holding true on their commitment to promoting creative ventures.… Read more
The Palace Theatre is opening its doors for just one more week and the stories are coming thick and fast. Your Palace story might be seeing your favourite band for the first time – craning your neck from the balcony or squeezing yourself into the front row. Your mum might have let you go to when the building was called Metro: the site of Melbourne’s biggest blue light disco. You might’ve caught Karnivool last week when they played the venue’s last-ever rock gig.
Or, your Palace story might involve flamethrowers, LED robots and indoor fireworks. Super-club brand Anyway took over Saturdays at the Palace just over a year ago. It’s hosted dance acts like Digitalism, Alison Wonderland, Peking Duk, the Aston Shuffle and Van She. It’s been known to kick on into the early hours in a haze of deep house. And this Saturday, it’s throwing the Palace one last party.
If you’re an Anyway regular, you’ll know that the lineup of resident DJs – Zac Waters, Dividem, Sunday Funday, Nick Litsis and more – is reason enough to get your dancing shoes on.… Read more
Imagine walking through the streets of Fitzroy on a winter’s night, turning a corner and being swept up in a wonderland of dream-like projections swirling on tall buildings. That’s the Gertrude Street Projection Festival, and it needs your help.
The festival was launched in 2008. Since then, it’s seen over 500 eerie, psychedelic and ethereal light installations projected onto buildings, laneways, footpaths and trees. There’s nothing quite like it in Melbourne, and that’s not even taking into account the workshops and events popping up in venues from Smith Street all the way up to Nicholson.
While the festival has the support of local council and businesses, the organisers are looking to raise $8000 through crowd-funding on their Pozible page. As it stands, they’ve received $3000, and have just one week left to raise the rest. If the prospect of seeing one of Melbourne’s coolest strips transformed by art still doesn’t sway your hand, then consider this: a donation of $20 will get your name projected onto the Festival Hub and $60 will guarantee entry into the super-exclusive Pozible Supporter Party.… Read more
When Aussie musical theatre royal Reg Livermore says that he was “frightened” when he first saw the set of Wicked for the upcoming Melbourne production, you know that this Oz-tastic musical isn’t skimping on scale.
If you saw the show when it was here six years ago, then you’ll remember the spindly staircases and steampunk cogs lining the stage and of course, the huge metal-plated dragon looming over the Regent’s proscenium arch.
Here at the media preview, the curtain rises and we’re back in the dorm rooms of Oz’s Shiz University, where oh-so-pretty blonde Glinda and green-skinned Elphaba aren’t too happy about the rooming arrangements. The performance of push-and-pull key-changey duet ‘What is this Feeling’ leaves no question as to the chemistry between the two leads. The plucky chorus isn’t half bad either.
For many die-hard Wicked fans, Perth’s Lucy Durack, who starred in the first Australian production as Glinda is right on par with Broadway’s original good witch Kristen Chenoweth.… Read more
A shooting star streaks over the Shrine of Remembrance just moments before the Dawn Service begins. The sky is clear, the crescent moon is still bright, and tens of thousands of people rub their hands and bounce on their feet to fight the chill. Wrapping their children in scarves and beanies, parents gesture in whispers toward the Eternal Flame, lit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1954. An aging woman carries a framed sepia photo of a man in army uniform. Stone-faced bikies with long beards stand side by side. There is hardly any wind up on the hill overlooking the city, and despite the density of the crowd spilling down toward St Kilda Road, it’s uncannily quiet.
The service begins at 6am. Stepping out from a line of war veterans and guest speakers, MC Peter Meehan opens by welcoming us to the Shrine – Melbourne’s “cathedral of ANZAC spirit”. He contemplates that as long as we continue to honour the men and women involved in Australia’s wars, the sacrifices of our heroes in conflict will never be forgotten.… Read more
Have you heard the term ‘normcore’ yet? It refers to the growing number of young trendies who are abandoning cutting-edge fashion for quality basics like slacks, vests and cardigans. Fashionistas and trend-spotters have noticed it, and as of today, Emporium Melbourne is open and host to normcore’s patron saint: UNIQLO.
On the night of the launch, UNIQLO’s puffer-vested mannequins dominate Emporium’s Lonsdale Street entrance. And while the Japanese brand isn’t known for loud patterns or outlandish designs, guests are welcomed like warlords by a host of traditional Japanese drummers, then met with Asahi beers and sake-based cocktails.
It’s a good thing that the store’s three floors and 3,000 square metres are fitted out using simple white shelving and clear red signage, because things could get confusing in here. Meticulously-folded jeans, cashmere jumpers, vests and shirts sit colour-coordinated in rows. And rows. The overall effect makes UNIQLO’s three floors feel like an endless display of paint swatches.… Read more