11 September

New venue complex for St Kilda

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When is a cinema not a cinema? When it’s an arts hub. The former George Cinemas – which were last in action when Gus Berger rented them out for his George Revival Cinema from July 2013-February 2014 – were last destined to become a gym for a new apartment block, or so we thought.

Now it’s been announced that the space is the new project of theatre producer and investor Aleksander Vass. He’ll be transforming the three cinemas into two venues – one seating 500, the other around half that – to host theatre, opera, gigs, musicals, cabaret and comedy, as well as films. Renovations are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

Richard Fitzgerald, pictured, is the general manager, and has in recent years revived the Arts Centre in Darwin and was general manager at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. He tells Time Out that the original projectors will be dismantled and preserved off site to allow for a broader scope of digital films.… Read more

11 September

Sandra Bernhard is coming to Melbourne in March 2015

Posted by in Comedy, News

Look, you may think of her as Madonna’s friend…

Nancy from Roseanne

Masha from The King of Comedy
KingOfComedy

Sandra Bernhard from Will & Grace

Or a personal favourite Minerva Mayflower from the wildly undervalued Hudson Hawk

… but, she is way more than that.

The reality is that all of that is a sideline, a hobby, that the uber-incredible Sandra Bernhard uses to fill in the gaps between being one of the best stand up comedians on the planet.

No seriously, Comedy Central in the US rated her in the top 100.

Now Sydney is going to get a chance to catch up with the comedy/singing/commenting stylings of the magnificent Ms Bernhard next March when she explodes into town for one show only.

Terrified we might miss out, we had a chat to Sandy about Sandyland, and found out that:

– She can’t stand celebrities who whinge about their being no work for women over 40 (“If you have the talent … !”)
– She’s a better singer now than ever, but still caustically comedically gifted (“Always my first love?… Read more

6 August

Melbourne Fringe Festival launches 2014 program

Fringe Festival 2014

When you hike up to the top of Madame Brussels on a Wednesday morning only to be greeted by a friendly gorilla, you know the Melbourne Fringe Festival is just around the corner.

Underground, cross-platform, subversive, weird and a little bit wild: Fringe truly offers art for everybody. Back for its 30th year, the festival’s 2014 theme seems to be its sheer size – there are over 400 programmed events crammed into 19 days, with more than 5000 artists participating.

Not sure where to start? At this morning’s media launch, creative director Jayne Lovelock recommends jumping into the Fringe Hub at the North Melbourne Town Hall and Lithuanian Club, which will host more than 60 events. “You could see three shows there in one night!” says Lovelock – including puppetry, burlesque, cabaret, comedy and music. In addition to comedy crowd-pleasers like Arj Barker, Rod Quantock and Greg Fleet, the hub will host Indigenous cabaret showcase Flash!Read more

6 August

Justin Heazlewood’s Crazy Bastards is the Aussie Mad Men

Posted by in Arts, Comedy, News, TV

Crazy Bastards

“Men drink whatever makes them look tough. Once it was blood, now it’s beer, but tomorrow, who knows? It’s 1985! Men are evolving! There’s a new dingo in town, spraying everything with his distinctive lemon tang.”

Did you ever wonder how Solo became a ‘man drink?’ We all remember the ad: the guy wearing volleys, running through fire and smashing down a can of what is essentially gender-neutral pub squash.

Clearly, it took a Don Draper-esque mastermind to turn soft drink into a beverage of choice for hard men. This is the premise of the first episode of the new series by comedian/writer/86 tram-rider Justin Heazlewood (aka the Bedroom Philosopher), who decided it would be hilarious to explore what could have inspired such brilliance. Selected to be produced by the ABC as part of their Fresh Blood comedy initiative, Crazy Bastards is an Aussie parody of Mad Men. It’s set in the mid ’80s, when hair was big, double denim was cool, misogyny was rife and advertising was…pretty much the same.… Read more

6 August

Monty Python land in Melbourne (cinemas) and Gilliam says they’re better

Monty Python Live (Mostly)

Australia, this is your call to comedy church. Monty Python mass will begin shortly and the cathedral will be packed.

At this point there will be very few people unaware that the five surviving members of Monty Python spent the majority of July performing their (mostly) live reunion show in London’s O2 Arena to a nightly horde of adoring fans there to worship at the spam shrine.

Well Australia, now it is our turn to sit in a seat and tell them that you love them.

Starting tonight, cinemas country-wide will hold a limited number (no, really limited, like a maximum of four) of screenings of the recording of the final show, featuring all your favourite sketches, a few celebrity fans and of course, dancing nuns.

We spoke to Terry Gilliam prior to the run and he promised that Australian cinema-goers would see “pretty much what people see who are there, but probably closer and more in focus.… Read more