06.08.12 1:13 pm

The Grim Experience  

Best Kept Secret

Facebook film fans can win free passes to the 2012 Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA) to be held November 8-11 in Launceston and Hobart by voting for their favourite short film in the “Essence of Tasmania” People’s Choice.

In the “Essence of Tasmania” competition, run by BOFA and Tourism Tasmania, film makers were asked to tell a story that captured the essence of Tasmania in less than three minutes.

The seven best short films can be seen on the BOFA Facebook page, and film lovers are invited to vote for the one they think best captures the essence of Tasmania.

Everyone who lodges a vote before August 31 will be able to purchase half price tickets to BOFA 2012, and five lucky voters will win a free pass to the full festival.  Winners will be announced in early September.

Festival Director Owen Tilbury said that he had been delighted with the standard of the entries, which showed innovative, fresh and creative approaches to film making.

Tourism Tasmania awarded prizes of $5,000 to three of the films and will use them for online promotion of the state.

Tourism Tasmania CEO Tony Mayell said that the short films had been creative, entertaining and effective.

“We are delighted by the way the entries presented such different views of Tasmania. Each captured an essence of Tasmania that went beyond the predictable,” he said.

The seven finalists were:
• Nick Stranger: A Portrait of Tasmanian Surfing – Simon Treweek
• Mr Thomkins’ Pies – by David Broadfield
• My Tasmania – by Saige Dingemanse
• The Grim Experience – Andrew Quaile
• The Tigers – by Tristan Klein
• Best Kept Secret – David Pyefinch
• Heaven of Spirituality, Home of Peace – by Shung Yiu Wong
To view the seven winning shorts and vote for your favourite go to the BOFA Film Festival Facebook page and click on the Short Film Competition box.

In 2012, BOFA plans to showcase over the Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 November, international and Australian feature films/documentaries,  short films,  cinema related exhibitions (in partnership with Queen Victoria Museum),  master-classes and parties, but, as well, is adding a new Make a Difference Day (Sunday 11th November) incorporating a free community open day, a major Big Ideas debate (in partnership with The St James Ethics Centre), screenings of a Make a Difference Day short film competition, features/documentaries, several master-classes run by industry experts, and writers’ festival speakers all on Make a Difference themes. The Make a Difference Day will be the culmination of the festival and will highlight the purpose of inspiring “positive change”. 

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HOBART BOOKSHOP: Last Days of The Mill

The Hobart Bookshop
05.08.12 4:22 am


The Hobart Bookshop and 40 South Publishing are pleased to invite you to the launch (by Tim Thorne) of Pete Hay and Tony Thorne’s new book, Last Days of the Mill, a story in poetry and images of the closure of Burnie’s pulp mill.

For seven decades ‘The Pulp’ constructed the social, economic and environmental circumstances of life on the North-West Coast. In 2011, on the last day of its operation, artist Tony Thorne went on site armed with sketchpad and camera. And writer Pete Hay came to Burnie armed with notepad and recorder, to talk to displaced mill workers. The result is this extraordinary collaboration of dramatic monologues in the vernacular voice of the mill floor and artworks of stark, confronting beauty that vividly capture the dying days of an industrial colossus.

For more information about the book (including a recording of a reading by Pete Hay),

visit the website: .

What: Tim Thorne will launch Last Days of the Mill (Pete Hay and Tony Thorne).
When: Thursday August 16, 5.30pm
Where: The Hobart Bookshop

Free event, all welcome.

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Arts | Books | What's On

These ladies have wings to fly!‏

Paula Xiberras
02.08.12 3:17 pm


I sat down with theatre director Chris Hamley this week to have a chat about his latest directorial project, ‘Waiting in the Wings’, the Noel Coward play.

‘Waiting in the Wings’, a play about a retirement home for former actresses, was received without much joy at its debut, possibly because of its subject matter, Chris explains it is short on ‘action and beautiful young things’ and the subject matter may make some people feel uncomfortable as it deals with ageing and its manifestations, it’s a pity because as Chris says it is a rare thing indeed to find a vehicle for an ensemble of women that are no longer ingénues. Noel Coward thought highly of this his 50th play and this milestone work also in his opinion, contained some of the best written scenes of his career.

For anyone thinking maybe this play is not their cup of tea, consider as Chris said, that you will be able to recognise a lady close to you in the wonderfully drawn characters, whether it be a jolly or kindly aunt or grandmother, or a lady more on the bitter or quarrelsome side.

One of the reasons Chris chose to do this play was because he had previously produced it with his Elizabeth College class who, he tells me did an excellent job of playing 70 plus year olds! No mean feat for a group of 17 year olds.

Chris also says if you are looking for deep interpretation in this play, don’t necessarily do so. It’s a straightforward story of substance about people, people we can all identify with in navigating the course of ageing as we all do and if there is a difference it may be they are facing it with more trepidation than perhaps the average person. The play explores the plight of people who define themselves and their careers by their youth and looks but as Noel Coward says ageing doesn’t need to be such an unpleasant prospect if faced with humour.

The play also touches on another peril of ageing for actors, but in no way inevitable, i.e. the possibility of dementia, and this is poignantly brought to the fore when one of the character’s Almina finds her ability to learn lines fails her and she says ‘her spirit is broken’.

Chris says this is a wonderful ensemble piece with gentle humour not slapstick and full of the wit that we are so familiar with in Noel Coward presentations. Not defined as a comedy or a drama it contains elements of both.

Even though there may not be levels of interpretation to discover in this play it’s tempting to think perhaps the old broken TV set at the retirement home reminds us that although some of these actors may be a little cranky, so not always giving us the most perfect reception, they still possess that vital spark.

Chris is very happy with how this play is unfolding and looking forward to more directing later this year but still ultimately craving the craft of acting which he keeps up with as part of the Louisa’s walk re-enactment. You can see Chris regularly as a part of Louisa’s walk

‘Waiting in the Wings’ plays at The Playhouse from August 3-18.

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Arts | What's On

Entries for the 2013 Tasmanian Literary Prizes open tomorrow

31.07.12 1:36 pm

Entries for the 2013 Tasmanian Literary Prizes open on Wednesday, 1 August.

Download details:



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Arts | Books | What's On

Hobart Rotary Charity Art Show at Wrest Point casino

Barbara Etter
31.07.12 7:44 am


Do put 6pm, Friday 10 August 2012 in your social calendars for the artistic event of the year - the Hobart Rotary Charity Art Show at Wrest Point casino. The opening night is only $25 a head and you can be the first to see a display of 400 original works or more by Tasmanian artists. And they will be at affordable prices.

I have done a few pieces for the event particularly for the Birds and Animals category. BEtter Consulting is also a diamond sponsor.

It is for a great cause, so do come along!

If you can’t make it Friday night, the pieces are on display during the day on both Saturday and Sunday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm in the Boardwalk Gallery and Wellington Room. There will be working demonstrations by unique artists, bands, colouring in facilities for the kids etc.

Hope to see you there.

Booking form available from

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Arts | What's On

STATE CINEMA: Scarlett Road

Jade Barker Tasmanian Project Coordinator Scarlett Alliance
31.07.12 6:58 am

Scarlet Road, an amazing film that follows the work of Rachel Wotton, a sex worker whose work focuses primarily on working with clients with a disability.

Please take the time to look at the trailer 

Ticket are available to book/purchase from the State Cinema



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Arts | What's On

Never coming back from Blubberhead Road …

31.07.12 6:05 am



Never coming back from Blubberhead Road …

July 30, 2012

The Steve Earle tune went round in my head as I drove down the muddy track to nowhere in Dover, deep in the south of Tasmania.

It was all part of our weekend away from the hustle of Lonnie and a chance to breathe a little.

Dover is a small village with a rich history and ample fodder for my trusty Canon, although as usual, never enough time to do justice.

It was 704am as my peepers focussed on the clock in our overnight room for the second time that morning and I decided that light would surely be my friend, if I forgot about an extended sleep in on our weekend adventure to the other end of the island.

It was a wee bit brisk as you would expect, with snow falling on higher ground later in the day, and the sky was a cycling spectrum of steel grey cloud, opaque rain, gentle blues, through orange and purples in patches of clear sky.

The light was amazing and I caught what I could, where I could.

I played with some fill flash and shot freehand with some higher than preferred ISO settings, but the experiment is all part of the excitement of the journey.

So enjoy the snapshot into our life as the weekend that was.



And here they are:
a digital photographer



Check these paintings ...yes they are paintings ...

She had a display at The Petty Sessions cafe

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Arts | Society | What's On


30.07.12 1:21 pm

Photo by Bookend Trust: Sophie Warren (left) and Katie Mulder (right) at the summit of Mt Weld, southern Tasmania, who were filmed while making a difference as part of Bookend Trust’s biological survey conducted by summer scholarship students, in partnership with the BayerBoost program and the Australian Geographic Society

BOFA Make a Difference Day

The Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA) will this year challenge both filmmakers and the Tasmanian community to make the world a better place.

BOFA 2012 will run from November 8 to 11 at Launceston’s Inveresk precinct and on Sunday, November 11, the final day of the Festival, BOFA will partner with Bendigo Bank, the Rotary Club of Tamar Sunrise and Volunteering Tasmania to stage Tasmania’s first Make a Difference Day.

Festival Director Owen Tilbury explained that, because BOFA was all about films that inspire positive change, this year’s Festival would challenge both filmmakers and the community to get involved in making a difference.

“The heart and soul of BOFA lies in inspiring people to make positive changes at a personal, local and global level. The stories, the film-makers, the community events, the ideas and the debates, are all about leaving the world better than we found it,” he said.

Make a Difference Day will be a free public event at Inveresk, with a farmer’s market, a craft market, healthy foods and local wines, music and children’s entertainment.

Stalls will also explain how people can make a difference personally, locally and globally, with many sporting, environmental and volunteering organisations represented.

Organisations interested in participating should contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or go to the web site for details.

BOFA “Make a Difference” Short Film Competition

In conjunction with Bendigo Bank and Volunteering Tasmania, BOFA 2012 is also challenging film makers to craft a three minute story - documentary or fictional - about making a positive difference.

Stories can be in any genre, but must be shot in high definition, in English or subtitled, and less than three minutes in length.

The screen based stories will be judged on three criteria: excellence in storytelling, excellence in film making, and excellence in capturing the Make a Difference theme.

Festival Director Owen Tilbury said that judges would be looking for creativity, innovation and fresh ways of telling a story.

“It could be about a volunteer in the community, overcoming adversity, improving the environment, human rights issues, or new technology which is making a difference - the short film is only limited by the film maker’s creativity and ability to tell a powerful story with beginning, middle and end.”

Short films can be entered in three categories:
• BOFA Make a Difference Open Award, - $5,000 donated by Jackson Volkswagen
• BOFA Make a Difference Youth (under 25) Award- $2,000 donated by the University of Tasmania and the Launceston City Council
• BOFA Make a Difference Student Award- $1,000 donated by the Tasmanian Centre for Global Learning
There will be free screenings of the best of the short films throughout the Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival, and the winners will be announced at the Festival’s most glamorous event, the Awards Dinner on Saturday, November 10.

Competition details and the entry process are available on the BOFA website at  or via withoutabox. Entries close on September 30.


In 2012, BOFA plans to showcase over the Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 November, international and Australian feature films/documentaries,  short films,  cinema related exhibitions (in partnership with Queen Victoria Museum),  master-classes and parties, but, as well, is adding a new Make a Difference Day (Sunday 11th November) incorporating a free community open day, a major Big Ideas debate (in partnership with The St James Ethics Centre), screenings of a Make a Difference Day short film competition, features/documentaries, several master-classes run by industry experts, and writers’ festival speakers all on Make a Difference themes. The Make a Difference Day will be the culmination of the festival and will highlight the purpose of inspiring “positive change”. 

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Arts | What's On

STATE CINEMA: Emerging From Darkness

Matthew Newton
30.07.12 1:14 pm


Emerging from Darkness tells the story of the East Timor Eye Program (ETEP), a voluntary service run by Australians, and aimed at providing eye care for the people of East Timor.

Each year, visiting eye teams from Australia travel to East Timor to distribute spectacles, perform consultations and operations over several 1–2 week visits. The team mainly carries out cataract surgery - the incidence of cataracts in East Timor is very high - but also performs other surgery and provides eye care services as needed. Every year about 700 cataract operations are performed and about 7000 pairs of glasses are provided.

All the surgeons, optometrists and nurses provide their services free of charge to the people of East Timor.

Emerging from Darkness illustrates the scale of need in East Timor following the destruction of property and services in the wake of Indonesia’s withdrawal from the country. But it also tells the story of a brighter future for this tiny new country - for example through the story of 17-year-old Noberto, who hopes to be able to resume his education when his vision is restored through surgery. Noberto hopes to become a doctor, inspired in part by the surgeon who treated him - Dr Marcelino Correia, East Timor’s first qualified eye surgeon.

Emerging from Darkness features interviews with East Timorese President Dr Jose Ramos Horta, ETEP founder Dr Nitin Verma, Dr Marcelino Correia, medical professionals who donate their services to ETEP and some of the East Timorese people whose lives have been changed by the work of the program.

Matthew Newton
Photography / Cinematography
GPO Box 1585, Hobart, 7001
Tasmania, Australia
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Arts | What's On

‘Murder in Casablanca” Dinner Theatre

30.07.12 6:56 am


@ Sorell Memorial Hall, Tasman Highway, Sorell
Fri 17 & Sat 18 Aug, 7pm

Sorell on Stage presents a thrilling night of murder, mystery, music and a two course meal!
$30 for Dinner and Show. Group bookings welcome!
Tables of 6 available! Bookings are essential for the catering ladies.

A small group of experienced amateur thespians, bringing quality shows to the community since March 2010.

Sorell on Stage was founded in March 2010 by Robert Thompson. A small group of experienced amateur Thespians answered his call, met, were accepted under the banner of Southern Beaches Regional Arts and decided on its first production/pantomime called “Little Red Riding Hood”
Directed by Ronnie Brello and performed at Sorell School in September 2010.

It was a great success with good crowds laughing, booing and hissing at the antics on stage.

This was followed by a comedy, “Beyond a Joke,” directed by Saakia Itchins and performed at the Sorell Memorial Hall in April 2011. Six new acting enthusiasts joined the group for this production. Four of them had never acted before. There was a wonderful roll up at each performance .

A musical evening, “Welcome Back to the Sixties Man,” directed by Tony Brello in August 2011 was great fun and this was followed by a Variety Concert directed by Trish Evans. She brought together single and group talents from within the community as well as the Rosny Children’s Choir. It was a one off event and the Hall was packed.

“Who Stole the Christmas Puddings” was a Christmas production written and directed by Ronnie Brello. Again, new actors took part and it was well attended.

“The Family Coffin,” written and directed by Saakia Itchins was presented in May 2012 and again, good audience numbers for each performance, and great fun.

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Arts | What's On

Shoot for the head

Ian Milliss
30.07.12 4:33 am


June 2012 was the 250th issue of Art Monthly Australia and I was one of a number of writers commissioned to celebrate the occasion by writing about “critical art writing”.

My article, which became the lead, was not exactly reverential in tone, in fact I took a fair amount of delight in rubbing in the fact that capital A art is finally dissolving away into a broader culture of everyday life, something I had fought for all my life but which has some very threatening implications for the conventional art world.

The version below is slightly different to the published version because it has some links and a number of minor amendments that never made it into print.

Read the full article here

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Arts | Society

Four-lty Towers

Paula Xiberras
27.07.12 7:26 am


Launceston’s Encore Theatre is in the midst of a sell out season of their production of ‘Fawlty Towers’. In past years the theatre has veered away from its musical origins and taken to playing some classic British TV shows. Last year they performed ‘Allo Allo’ which followed a successful season of ‘Are you being served’. With such success the theatre decided they were on to a winning formula and so this year they are performing four episodes of ‘Fawlty Towers’.

Jamie Hillard is the director of the play and I spoke to him recently about why he thinks these takes on classic TV shows are so successful.

Jamie says most of these TV shows have a cult following and are kept vibrant by the DVD releases. ‘Fawlty Towers’ with only 12 episodes made is a rare gem among British comedies.

Almost everyone knows something about this clever, as opposed to the slapstick of some British comedies. Jamie finds the audiences are so enamoured of the series that they are saying word for word the lines along with the actors as well as being familiar with Basil Fawlty’s ‘goose-step’ and and while some of the time sensitive puns might go over modern audiences heads the image of stick spider basil is universally found funny. 

With another eight episodes for the taking it would seem the group will stay close to their theatrical home and have encore dramatisations of Fawlty Towers in future seasons.

Meticulous attention has been given to these four episodes with an effort to have the cast resembling the original cast as much as possible. There is also a remote controlled rat starring in the infamous rat episode where Manuel’s innocent belief he has a pet hamster causes all sorts of chaos for the restaurant when it gets loose.

A special Sybil Fawlty wig was flown in to take it’s rather overpowering role in the play at the cost of 400 dollars!

There is of course a bit of political in-correctness floating around and landing on people just like the famous moose head but thankfully the moose head at least is light-hearted and made of polystyrene.

There may be good safety conditions on set but the cast has had to really forge ahead with a case of the show must go on as many of them have succumbed to the flu season. Jamie believes the stellar hard work of his cast with long hours has caused a drop in immunity levels and so they have picked up any nasty bugs circulating.

With the success of this ‘Fawlty Towers’ there are plans to bring to the stage more, with ‘Black Adder’ and ‘Dads Army’ on the drawing boards.

Jamie says although they would like to tour with the production the fact that the volunteer cast have their day jobs to think of together with the difficulty in securing accommodation and most importantly a theatre when most are booked out 2 years in advance are also factors which prevent encore touring at the moment.

However you can see Encore Theatre’s production of ‘Fawlty Towers’ at the Earls Arts Centre, Launceston from July 12 to 28.

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Arts | What's On

Girls Gothic Gathering

Paula Xiberras
27.07.12 7:23 am


I recently spoke to actor Maude Davey who will be visiting Tasmania soon with the production ‘The Flood’. The Flood is a Gothic Australian play about the lives of three women, the mother Janet, and her two daughters Dorothy and Catherine.

‘The Flood’ of the title refers to the literal flood that is affecting the land as well as a previous pivotal flood in 1972 when the man of the house Brian, Janet’s husband and the girls father went missing and metaphorically the flood also refers to the flood of emotions and revelations that come to light upon the visit of Catherine to her mother and sister.

Maude Davey has strong Tasmanian connections with her husband David being a Tasmanian and her uncle Richard now living in Strahan. Maude was in Tassie earlier in the year to celebrate with some performances for the anniversary of Salamanca market and next month she will again visit the market as a tourist and also catch up with relatives when she is not making her debut at the Theatre Royal in ‘The Flood’.

‘The Flood’ is Australian Gothic in that it deals with ‘settlers in an alien landscape that is often harsh and unforgivng’.  Jackie Smith the writer comes from rural NSW and is committed to writing about country people and exploring their truths of which this play is to some, frighteningly real. At a question and answer session for the play Jackie found a remarkable recognition by audiences with this story.

The story is about the three woman, the two that remained with a husband and father who cruelly treated the animals as he did humans and some unpleasant incidences of this are recounted in the play . Dorothy the elder sister sent her younger sister Catherine away to protect her and although the two sisters love each other there is often some fierce dialogue between them.

Meanwhile Janet their mother may or may not be suffering from some degenerative disease and is under the belief that she killed her husband. Dorothy encourages her mother to believe this, perhaps in some way hoping the cathartic nature of it will help her mother overcome some of the guilt she feels in not being able to protect her daughters. What really happened to Brian, Janet’s husband is finally revealed.

Maude says the language in the play is so naturalistic the words just fall out of the mouth. The play is not totally grim, there is a fair share of humour which the audience laughs along with but there are also the moments when a more sombre silence is required.

Other elements which increase the Gothicism of the play are the mystery of the identity of the Oleander man , a story which scares children and the representation of the Kraken a powerful spiritual force that originates in the ocean and perhaps provides a fitting metaphor for this drama, itself a powerful piece that originates in secrets and repressed emotions that in time become The Flood

The Flood plays at The Theatre Royal on August 10 and ll.

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Arts | What's On

The sound of West Papua brought to the people of London

Anne Noonan, Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)
26.07.12 10:37 am

The sound of West Papua was brought to the people of London at the official pre-Olympic concert in Greenwich Park, London, July 21st 2012.

As part of David Bridie’s Wantok Music Sing Sing, the flag of West Papua was raised as George Telek was joined on stage by exiled musicians Mambesak and independence leader Benny Wenda, as the crowds of British citizens in the crowd sung along.

The voice of West Papua will never be silenced and this will be the first of many West Papua flagraisings to be held during the London 2012 Olympic Games, all directed to bring the worlds attention towards the ongoing human rights violations that Indonesia is committing against the Papuan population.

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Politics | International | Arts


Michael McLaughlin Community Cultural Development Officer Glenorchy City Council
26.07.12 7:19 am


Three generations of musicians from Tasmania’s emerging, culturally diverse communities will come together on Saturday the 18th of August for a unique ninety minutes of live world music as part of the Moonah Arts Centre’s special events program.

Moonah Nights is a development showcase for culturally diverse musicians, keen to share their cultural traditions and develop new audiences for their unique style of music. 

See and hear contemporary and traditional musicians and vocalists from Iran performing in Farsi; maybe get your first taste of Karen Burmese pop; or thrill to the dance and vocal traditions of the Dinka speaking community.

Madi speaking Adunga players will present from both the traditional repertoire of this popular African string instrument as well as contemporary compositions. Hear generations of vocalists from the great musical traditions of the Congo and Zimbabwe.

Moonah Nights is part of an ongoing development program by the Moonah Arts Centre to promote diversity in live music, with the generous support of Arts Tasmania and Glenorchy City Council’s Arts and Cultural Development Program.

Where: Moonah Arts Centre, 65 Hopkins St.  Moonah
When: Saturday 18th August  
Times: Doors open from 7pm for a 7:30pm start
Entry by Gold Coin Donation

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Arts | What's On

Dance and sound work considers the last taboo

The Dance Project
25.07.12 9:38 am


While it’s widely agreed that nothing is sacred these days, death is still a taboo subject for
many people; however, a new dance and sound performance from Tasmania’s Mature
Artists Dance Experience (MADE) in collaboration with Hobart’s Hospice volunteers may
be a less confronting way to approach this important topic.

Titled Family: a dance and sound performance about dying and living, the work has been
choreographed by 2011 Churchill Recipient and Artistic Director of MADE Glen Murray.

“FAMILY has been created from the premise that death is an essential element of life, and
that a community in fear and denial of death is a community in fear and denial of life,” he

“More than anything, we want people to feel empowered and informed by this work.
“We hope to contribute to more open conversations in our community about death and

In addition to the dance performance, Family: a dance and sound performance about
dying and living also incorporates a walk-through sound component of recorded
conversations with people who are preparing for death. The recordings
are empowering stories that have informed the creation of the dance work.

Family: a dance and sound performance about dying and living will be performed at
Hobart’s City Hall from the 26th through 29th of July, with tickets available from the
Theatre Royal Box Office and via phone: (03) 6233 2299.

Professor Michael Ashby, Director of Palliative Care for the Southern Area Health
Service and Royal Hobart Hospital will be providing an address following the
performance on Friday 27 July.

Patrons are advised that some of the stories within the sound component of Family: a
dance and sound performance about dying and living contains voices of people who
have died.

The Dance Project is a statewide initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts and Tasmanian
Regional Arts, creating three contemporary dance projects within Tasmania. ‘Family’ is the third
and final performance component of The Dance Project.

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Arts | What's On

In the Nix of time

Paula Xiberras
24.07.12 3:16 pm


Garth Nix writes young adult fantasy novels and his love of books extends to having worked in a bookshop and in editing for Harper Collins.

You can meet Garth at Fullers Bookshop Hobart Monday 23 of July and Tuesday 24 at Fullers Launceston.

Prior to his visit Garth answered the following questions:

Have you been to Tasmania before and what were some of the things you enjoyed about it?

I have been to Hobart and the nearby areas like Port Arthur several times, and always enjoyed the beautiful landscape and the historical nature of the city. I’d love to see more of Tasmania but haven’t yet had the chance. At least I get to Launceston as well this time!

Are you going to have time this trip to do some sightseeing and if so what plans do you have?

I don’t have much time, it’s a fairly flying visit. But I hope to be able to have a wander around Salamanca Place and if I’m very lucky maybe a quick ferry ride.

Any ideas for a future fiction being based in Tasmania?

I find ideas all over the place, and I’m sure I’ve been inspired by things seen in Tasmania on previous trips, and will be again.

Do you think a degree in professional writing helped you become a writer or just developed and refined the skills you already had?

It certainly helped me practice and develop the skills I had, forcing me to write a lot, and to write many different things. I also was in the company of other writers for three years, and I think I learned a great deal from them, and was inspired and encouraged by my fellow students.

Space Operas were once considered less valuable writing. How do you think the concept of the genre has changed?

I think science fiction in general has become much more part of the mainstream, resulting in a re-evaluation of its value and consequence. That said, I think it is always important to judge books on their own merits, not on the genre or category they are put in to help sell them.

What are some of the observations you had that proved a catalyst for A Confusion of Princes?

I suppose in essence the book is about a very spoiled young man with a massive sense of expectation discovering that while he is indeed very privileged, the universe and his place in it is not what he thought it was. I see facets of this kind of thinking and behaviour all the time in everyday life, and of course have had some of it myself. But there are also many small details that come from observations of people, from reading history, from personal experience of military and other organisations and so on. Every book is a patchwork of often very tiny pieces, drawn from everything the author has experienced, either directly or vicariously, via books, other media, things told or overheard . . .

Garth’s latest book ‘A Confusion of Princes’ is out now.

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Arts | What's On


Steven Joyce, Despard Gallery
23.07.12 11:09 am


Despard Gallery warmly invites you to Jo Chews exhibition opening this Thursday, 26th July at 6pm.

Please join us with the artist and friends to celebrate the opening of Jo’s first solo show at Despard Gallery.

To preview Jo’s exhibition please visit

Despard Gallery
15 Castray Esplanade
Hobart Tasmania Australia 7000
ph +61 3 62238266
fax +61 3 62236496

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Arts | What's On

What are you shooting ... ?

23.07.12 7:47 am


Early hours, I stumbled bleary eyed through the beaded curtain to my office as “groundhog” day began.

It’s my routine to get dressed there, as my computer boots up and my brain does the same.

A few small chores and then a quiet Sunday morning gestures me to leave home and wander the town with my camera. Taking photos is my job and like any commitment, at times it can be all too consuming.

“Freeshooting” is when my tools and I go “walkies” and I disappear further into my own part of the planet, away from the race to the bottom.

Yes, you may have noticed from my tone that I was a bit flat and the first few photos I shot were just me going through the motions.

Soon after, I saw the hands and the curtains in the reflection and then thought of bank and the synergy that became my burst of inspiration.

It came together on many levels.

Perhaps it was my mood, perhaps the universe was steering me gently toward a goal unknown, but my energy lifted as the set came together.

I stopped briefly to chat with two greyhounds who were waiting patiently for their owner to get up from the café seating and mid pat the woman asked me what I was shooting.

Good question thinks me.

A moment later, it came to me. “Irony”, I am shooting irony.

We both laughed and I kept on my way digging for that irony that is all around us.

Dave Groves, a Digital Photographer, here

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Arts | Personal

Find Me

Paul Tapp
23.07.12 4:46 am


I must admit I sat with trepidation
As he told a tale that had us both awash with nervous perspiration -
For me ‘twas incredulity
That comes from the knowing
At long last…
A truth embedded in our past
And only I to hear it.

For him ,  ’twas … what?
Beyond relief
For he had told his tale before
It really should have shut the door
Case-closed at long last!
Mystery solved!
But we never got to hear it.

For him who called it in one word
At our recent covert Buckland place
His tale so long deferred
Until this truthing face-to-face
His confession with detected dread,
“I am expunged! I’m now expunged, ” he said!
Now all should get to hear it.

For how much longer does one wait when one has waited long enough?
Why was not the truth revealed to those who do it tough?
Since 1969 and then in 1986
When he confessed the exact same stuff.
The mother and the father then alive
With every moment waking and Recurring, haunted dreams…
Where a darling daughter’s importuning
Rival all collective screams
Of persons missing, lost and calling:
“Find me, find me, find me…!”
Well at last …
I think I have.

I met the man who says he ferried you,
To a secret place and buried you;
Simply had to get it off his chest
Knowing you will never be at rest
Until at length we ferry you
To where your parents wait
Rendered at their graves, effete:
They and living brothers Jim and John;
Importuning on and on
‘Find her, find her, find her’:
Are they and even those in uniform who keep the files alive until complete
Victims of just another State deceit?

Would this man who speaks to me
And moving puzzle’s pieces so convincingly,
Perpetrate some morbid bloody hoax, if so
To what end?
I cannot think of one, except insane But saw it not in his confessional refrain:
“I ferried her and dug a grave and buried her.
She seemed to know the man who murdered her.
Big-noter of his code
Hero even for those who
Pedestal the footballer
‘Was she waiting at the stop for him?”
“It seems she was” for quickly she got in.
Hmmm, it all made sense to me
For a former soldier with a pen
My skin it moved time and time and time again
As he revealed the details of what seemed a thought-out plan
To rid a girl once coveted
Perhaps a footy fan.

I’m sorry Andrew, sorry Will
Why did I bother,
Believing you could relieve me of my load and take my confession to its rightful place, the people… your audience, constituents and others
But more than all … her brothers, Saying loudly, proudly, ringing in the Parliamentary Halls, a truth at last!
And an Aunty blast!
Lead news!
‘We have found her, found her, found her’…yet wait I still
For the day that those that earn their wages and their trust in fervoured searching for all truths,
Say ‘We’ve found Lucille.”

I’ll find someone who wants to know
About a girl so long ago
Who met for secret love and
Ne’er came home.
A tryst, a whispering, a back-seat Rendezvous in winter’s darkening, Sombre afternoon;
The end and a beginning;
A life;
A myth;
For it cannot be a mystery
If the braided searchers knew
And kept it to themselves
As just another secret

The road to Truth is more than steep
But worth the twists and turns to let you sleep
“Find me, find me,” have you cried,
You’ve been calling since you died:
I’ll take it on as Hallowed Quest
To put you finally
To your rest.
I will.

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Writers | Paul Tapp | History | Poetry | Society


Michael McLaughlin, Community Cultural Development Officer, Glenorchy City Council
21.07.12 4:38 pm

Moonah Arts Centre’s Friday Night Concert Series
Friday July 27

The Spanish fusion trio, Alma Da Vida will perform a tappas of tasty tunes at the popular Moonah Arts Centre Friday night concert series on July 27. 

Alma da Vida is; Paul Gerard on flamenco guitar, Nigel Hope on 5 string bass and Jules Witek on percussion. The music Alma Da Vida plays is an extension of Paul’s flamenco moving into the world of jazz. ‘World music/ Spanish/Jazz fusion’ is how the trio describes their unique sound.

The trio was formed after Paul returned to Tasmania in June 2009 after living and studying in Europe for two years. While living in Europe, Paul was heavily submerged in the flamenco scene working on new techniques styles and modern forms of this art. Paul started to explore expanding the dynamics of his music when moved into the jazz ensemble format. Spanish music is all about rhythm, and when he started talking to Nigel Hope and Jules Witek, they realized the opportunities for innovation were endless.

The trio took shape and began to arrange music borrowing from Spanish classical, Flamenco, and Latin music and rhythms. It is not uncommon for an Alma Da Vida piece to start in Spain, move into Latin America and end up rhythmically in Africa. The trio works off each other’s talents and the music follows the mood of the improvisation and spontaneity of that performance. It is exciting music played by three musicians who have mastered their instruments.

Alma Da Vida offers the audience a moving musical experience that keeps everyone, musician and audience alike, pinned to the edge of their seats.

Alma Da Vida
Where: Moonah Arts Centre, 65 Hopkins St.  Moonah
When: Friday 27 July  
Times: Doors open from 7pm for a 7:30pm start
Entry by Gold Coin Donation

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Arts | What's On

If this wall could talk…which it does!

Paula Xiberras
21.07.12 6:31 am


‘Boy Girl Wall’ is an interesting concept in that one of the protagonists is what we would normally class as an inanimate object, in this case made animate by the extraordinary acting skills of Lucas Stibbert who also plays the Girl and the Boy of the title and everything else in this one man play.

I recently spoke to Lucas Stibbert of ‘The Escapists’ prior to his bringing the production to Tasmania. While he is in Tassie Lucas plans to do some walking, exploring the North West and Launceston areas he hasn’t explored before.

Boy Girl Wall is a play about barriers to romance and to living the way one wants to. Our two protagonists Thom and Alethea are would be lovers, stuck in the rut of jobs they don’t necessarily desire and the wall that divides instead causes them to collide.

Lucas is quick to say although this is a story about love it’s not a love story in that there are no Jane Austen moments such as Mr Darcy rising newly baptised in the art of romance from the waters. There is however a suggestion that the story could end in happy ever after.

Lucas says there are often physical barriers used in theatre that are metaphorical too and are signified for example by the wall between Pyramus and Thisbe, and in the similar tale of Romeo and Juliet with one of the barriers being Juliet’s balcony.

Stibbert stages his one man show with a modicum of props. Those that are used, are a projector and drawings with chalk and somewhere in the mix we have an evil magpie who has stolen away the eye of a Scottish taxi driver but you will have to see the play to have that explained!

At the moment the play is the thing for this multi-talented actor but it’s quite possible his old potential career path of architecture, (that is a prominent part of this production), may prove the conscience of this king of theatre and he may take up architecture as a career sometime in the future.

Boy Girl Wall plays at The Theatre Royal August 1 to 4.

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Arts | What's On

More than a Cadd-etship, don’t you know it’s magic!

Paula Xiberras
21.07.12 4:37 am


Brian Cadd and his singing partner Russell Morrison have quite a loyal following in Tasmania. Last year their shows sold out and it looks pretty much the same this year. I talked to Brian a little while ago from his home in Byron. He tells me there is a winning formula to he and Russell’s shows.

The shows are not just music but have an added dimension of two best friends or ‘‘naughty little boys” says Brian, who have no pretensions about each other but fill the evening with sarcasm and self-deprecating humour. There is a comfortableness about them as though they are guests in the audiences own homes. This comfortableness comes from a paired musical history. Brian adds that each knows the boundaries and will not step over them.

The two performers have found a winning formula working together but of course each has a separate musical history as well and for Brian it began in his childhood. When he was a young boy there happened to be auditions by Rolf Harris for a Christmas party show featuring talented young players. Brian went along and won through. Rolf was soon on his way to the UK and another host would take over what became known as ‘The Children’s Channel House Band’. Brian played the piano and from that time on it was music all the way.

Brian’s family moved to Tasmania for a time where he became involved in the music scene here. They lived in Taroona, the suburb that was also home to other famous Tasmanian alumni, that is, two Tassie Princesses; Princess Mary of Denmark and princess of pop, Judith Durham. Brian only stayed in Tasmania for eighteen months but his time here formed lifetime friends and indeed when Brian is down here later this month he will catch up with his old school friends as he does every time he is Tasmania.

Brian is known for his role as songwriter examples being ‘A Little Ray of Sunshine’ and ‘Magic’, but Brian is multi-talented; a pianist, musician, songwriter and manager of other peoples careers. I ask him if he could choose what area he prefers the most and he explains writing because every good thing that happened to him occurred because of his writing. Brian has his own all-time favourite song which is Gene Pitney’s ‘If I didn’t have a Dime’.

With children as young as eleven in his family Brian has an appreciation of new technology and the way music is being revolutionised and is optimistic about music’s future. Brian divides his time between Homes in Byron Bay and a farm in Victoria as well as spending regular time in Paris.

When he and Russell get to Tasmania Brian hopes to get in some golf at the Launceston Country Club and maybe work on that Cadd/Morris Trophy!

You can see Brian perform with Russell Morris at the Launceston Country Club on   Fri 27th July and at the Wrest Point Casino on Sat 28th July.

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Arts | What's On

Michael Veitch to leave ABC Local Radio

936 ABC Hobart
17.07.12 1:49 pm

Popular arts & media identity, Michael Veitch is set to exchange microphone and headphones for grease paint and footlights. Michael announced today that he is leaving ABC Local Radio to join a major theatre production, details of which are to be announced in Melbourne on Monday, August 23.

For Michael it will be another turn in his varied career: comedian, TV arts presenter, stage and film actor, writer and broadcaster.

Michael joined 936 ABC Hobart as Afternoons presenter in 2010. He sat in the Breakfast chair for the second half of 2010 and moved into his current role as Statewide Evenings presenter in January this year. He has presented national programs for ABC Local Radio, most notably during Anzac Day this year; and for the last two years he has hosted the Hobart season of ABC Classic FM’s Sunday Live concerts.

Michael is the author of several non-fiction books including one on the Bass Straits Islands. In 2011 he appeared on stage in Hobart as Herr Zeller in The Sound of Music. More recently he featured in the award winning short film, ‘Best Kept Secret.’

Michael will be heard on ABC Local Radio throughout the London Olympics period presenting the National Evenings program. His final program on ABC Local Radio,Tasmania will go to air on Thursday September 20.

ABC Local Content Manager, Tasmania, Jocelyn Nettlefold, wished Michael well for his next role, “Michael’s talent and humour have been an asset to Local Radio in Tasmania and the audience will miss his company.”

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Hobart Comedy Festival

Craig Wellington, Producer, The Hobart Comedy Festival
17.07.12 7:19 am


Ten Years…

Who’d have thought? It’s a long time since the Pie Oven kept tripping the power every hour, killing the lights and sound. It’s just as many years since some fellow named Adam Hills had to yell into the stairwell to achieve reverb. Why did Carl Barron turn up, unadvertised and unannounced, and perform at the Blundstone Big Finale? And what ever became of that young Hannah Gadsby?

Nowhere else in Tasmania can you see acts of such calibre performing their full festival show in an intimate comedy room (as opposed to a huge theatre). And no other event presents a comedy spectacle like The Blundstone BIG FINALE, Hobart’s favourite annual comedy event as proven by audiences voting with their feet.

It’s up close and personal as well as quite a bit Gala.

It’s ten Years! Good Job Hobart.



Learn all about it here

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Arts | What's On

Carnegie, RIP ... a final rip-roaring exhibition?*

16.07.12 6:30 am



Greer Honeywill

And so we gave her the last rites ... ?* in subdued but elegant fashion with a sprinkling of local glitterati including the Premier and a champagne-glass full of local pollies, most of whom gripped their glasses by the glass rather than stem, thus strangling the bubbles. Philistines*.

Actually I’m not sure that last bit was entirely true. Certainly there have been countless social occasions attended by moi involving ham-fisted pollies whose etiquette in relation to holding a bubbles glass leaves a lot to be desired.

But as I recall, the glasses on Friday night at the intriguing and elegant closing exhibition of the Carnegie Gallery (?*), were either short stumpy ones or standard wino. And there was a distinct absence of bubbles.

And there may lie a reason why the Carnegie is hosting its last exhibition (?*) Greer Honeywill, IN-Grained (exposed and disguised) 2003-2012. curated by Peta Heffernan and running until August 12.

Money… money has ceased to talk Carnegie-speak for Hobart City Council. After years showcasing contemporary Tasmanian art, craft and design (All about Carnegie here), it’s closing as a free-entry Council-sponsored gallery after this exhibition ends on August 12 (?*).

It’s long-term future: it may end up as a commercial gallery, or the maritime museum may creep upstairs to flood this glorious space.

The man doing the opening honours for what is a most beautifully presented exhibition last Friday night was Peter Poulet, until fairly recently Tasmanian Architect.  (Mercury here).

A sad loss. And not only because this man knows how to hold a champagne glass ...

Here’s what he had to say ... but before I let him, I have to applaud a dining experience immediately after. It was in the Mill under the high ceilings of the old mill. And it was lovely ... scrumptious appetizers, an appropriate medium-rare steak, then to-die-for cheeses ... French (inc. Roquefort) and Bruny (a simply amazing over-matured soft with an exquisite edge). Pembroke pinot with that ... No Trouble at Mill here, Mr Lethlean.

• ?* I’ve since learnt that although Carnegie is scheduled to close ... it may not yet be the end ... or indeed IN-grained may not be the last exhibition. It seems there is still a chance the Carnegie could be saved if there is enough public support for it!

Now to Peter Poulet ...

Home to House to Place

Peter Poulet
NSW Government Architect and General Manager/artist

Greer Honeywill is an architect’s artist; not at home at home, but like an architect, wondering and wandering through time, space, memory and metaphor.

Childhood experience connects her to the home and memories of the domestic which in turn lead to contemplation of house, enclosure and then beyond, to the role of architecture and home in chasing dream, illusion and deceptions.

This particular body of work titled, IN-Grained, has been chosen by the curator Peta Heffernan. A Tasmanian architect with a pedigree, Heffernan has a nuanced understanding of Honeywill’s work.

Heffernan’s architectural practice and philosophy is centred on the making of unique space and the dialogue between object and the space it inhabits. This focus is ideally suited to Honeywill’s explorations of domestic space, form and memory.

Heffernan’s design for the exhibition space echoes the patterns of domestic architectural perambulation, a design that skilfully reinforces the conceptual framework of the artist’s work. The gallery as house or the house as showpiece?

We move from the entry to internalised domestic ideas and beyond to broader concepts outside the home, culminating in a collaborative piece, Groundcover (2012), by artist and architect.

The works chosen by the architect/curator are predominantly made of wood, some concealed by white paint, some obscured or veiled, but all referring to the making of house. Often originating with the skeleton of the timber frame; the construction becomes mediator or divider, physically and metaphorically. Some things can now be obscured or hidden. What things happen behind the closed doors of the house you visit or the home you live in?

The vein of domesticity tapped in these works alludes to women’s work and practiced skills and knowledge (overlooked and obscured for so long). We see craftsmanship in the making of these objects and the joy of making in wood, a practice now becoming rare.

However, Honeywill is no naïve interpreter of the homespun. Look carefully and the architectural modernists and reference to their ‘heroic’ machismo is integrated into many of these installations. The story of the suburbs is told and interrogated. The house dismembered, remembered, and re-represented.

Carpet (2005-2012), ushers us into the domestic realm and we become entranced by the craftsmanship, detail and patience of the piece. It is monumental yet requiring forensic viewing. Beyond the welcome a series of rooms illuminate the impacts of the suburban dream. The trickery of Off the plan purchases. What is it you’re buying? And who’s joking at whose expense? The subversion of planning has never been a joke and perpetuates suburban sprawl.

Then, the endless repetition captured by Variation on Monotony (2007), a townscape built on endless iterations and ultimately suburban despair. How can we find fulfilment and individuality when lost in the mundane and repetitive?

The haunting sentinels of Anthology of Sadness (2003-2012) reveal the repetitive nature of household life and the addictive accumulation and growth of pattern and craft and memories and stories, and lives and …..

Mothership (2006) with its ‘army’ of ready-mades seems orderly and controlled; suggesting balance and comfort; completeness and contentment. But does resentment swell? Does chaos beckon? Is the ideal of domestic life and suburban planning hiding despair or longing? Do memories fade sufficiently? Are we in step?

We are all on show, but On Show (2009-2012) also masks the mundane domestic. As in the Rudolph Schindler and Clyde Chase house of the early 20’s where the planned union of two couples was thwarted by a house designed to unite.

Untiled (Colours of the Kitchen Cabinet) (2003-2012) returns us to the domestic kitchen, the repetitive, and the mundane; the scribbling of lists; the tedium of shopping. The work insinuates and loops itself into our subconscious. Shadows are of memory, the insistent whispering not to forget, is ever present. That ‘silent’ voice, that mantra made real, momentarily, by the sudden disgorgement of sound.

Elysium (2007-2012) suggests disorder within order. The archetypal house form diminished in scale and subjected to the reality of everyday life by repetitive piercings. The everyday impacts seem innocuous enough, like lace tracery injecting humanity into the idealised form; the veiling and screening of our internalised reality, our domesticity is comforting. Yet despite the play of light there is loneliness, alluding to despair as this object floats alone. No community and our daily lives contained, solitary and sometimes desperate. 

The seven-level Milan family house by Paul Rudolph completed in 1962 stacks rectangle upon rectangle in a sculptural approach captivating and infuriating those living in the house. To look at the moon (2009) plays with this, quite literally. There is playfulness and ambivalence here. The ‘hero’ architecture versus domestic reality. But also an iconic façade, exploring the play between the inside and exterior space, again exploring and mediating what is seen, hidden or on display.

Finally a collaborative piece, theatrical, playing made space, against the natural. Like a score of sorts, the work plays the rhythm and beat of our lives against a literal overlaying, a coverlet of ideas, by artist and curator.

With Heffernan’s selection and interpretation of the work we are able to penetrate deeply into Honeywill’s world.

This is a powerful exhibition, tracing the evolution of Honeywill’s study of home to house to place. The work originating in intimate childhood memories and moving to explore the notion of home ownership, suburban development, architecture with a capital ‘A’ and the role of women as survivors and interpreters of this realm.

This is a fascinating and rich area of enquiry as we look to making our communities and homes more responsive to our humanity and needs. As environmental and social imperatives have demolished the heroic iconography of modernism, what is replacing it?

A pluralistic, inclusive society with a responsive and enabling built environment is sought.

As more and more women enter the architectural profession and make their mark on the buildings of the future I am heartened that we might get dwellings and cities that understand the land, humans, human interaction and are sustainable and nurturing.

And here is Curator Peta Heffernan

Exploring Private and Public Space
Curator, Peta Heffernan,

IN-Grained is the first solo exhibition in Tasmania of the acclaimed conceptual artist, Greer Honeywill. The exhibition brings together thought-provoking, sculptural works, predominantly made of wood that collectively have been developed over a period of nine years and represent a strong and enduring seam in her studio practice.

In 2011, as her exploration of the realm of art and architecture intensified, the artist invited me to join her as an active participant in the development of the exhibition. Her aim was to harness the gaze of the architect as both curator and designer of the exhibition space. The brief was for a space in which we could both be playful. The artist and the architect exploring shared ideas on private and public space, while providing a unique experiential journey for the audience.

Honeywill’s work openly explores concepts of social patterning, the blemished surface of suburbia, time lost, the place of self, and memory. Overlaying these concerns the artist also explores grand architectonic narratives that allude to the power of architecture to affect the psyche.

From the floor plan for kitchenless Courtyard Houses designed in 1885 by Howland, Deery and Owen, to eliminate time lost to the mundane, to the poetic expression of architect Peter Zumthor; from the disruptive relationship of Le Corbusier to the house Eileen Grey designed and called E-1027, to the wilful expression of Rudolph Schindler, Honeywill has gathered narratives, just as she gathers familiar objects infused with memories for inclusion in her work. IN-Grained, illuminates Honeywill’s observations of the impact of architectural expression on social behaviour, and ultimately the human condition.

In the expression of these ideas, Honeywill elevates the value of craftsmanship through the materials and methods used in the development of the installations.  Her collaboration with artisans keeps the idea of crafted authenticity alive and draws our attention to a society that is losing sight of the pleasure gained from experiencing the delight of well-crafted objects or spaces.

Honeywill’s exposed, wooden works celebrate craftsmanship and the beauty of natural timber, while in the white or disguised works, Honeywill seals the surface of the wooden substrate using white paint or fabric, focusing the attention on the form rather than it’s composite parts.

The design for the exhibition space creates a journey of revelation for these works. ‘Carpet’, experienced at the entry, suggests the spread of suburbia carpeting the landscape. In this context, ‘Carpet’ defines our exterior lives – makes apparent our significant public disguise and the declaration and definition of our boundaries. This apparently innocent hall runner spreads infectiously and destructively across the landscape.

Beyond the thin veil we enter private space to explore interiority. In this series of intimate spaces, privacy and enclosure allow focus on smaller installations and beyond the intimate there is a gradual shift to public space and openness at the heart of the space.

The dynamic of the plan actively engages with Honeywill’s works allowing the artist to re-imagine installations within their particular spaces.

The exposed timber works with their layered meanings and beautiful surfaces are reminiscent of the rich, wooden textures softening the modernist hand celebrated in Wright’s prairie houses and Alto’s Scandinavian sensibilities sculpted seamlessly into his human scale compositions.

Works such as Carpet, Variations on Monotony, Anthology of Sadness and Mothership draw out the expressive possibilities of the skeletal timber form with architectural and domestic references. Proceeding through the ‘front door’, observations of suburbia and the effects on the human condition come to the fore. But does the great Australian dream of a house on a quarter acre block satisfy the yearning? Too often the dream has taken precedence over sense at the cost of community and quality of life. How did we get to the stage as a society where soulless suburbs become acceptable just so we can ‘own’ our plot of land?

The early Modernist architects used white to highlight architectural relationships in the most pure way – the relationship of one plane to another; the relationship of linear elements to planar elements, the way space is modulated. They believed the openness and mass, transparency and opacity that exists in defining space was defined more clearly through the use of white.

Honeywill’s white or disguised works typified by On Show,  Elysium and To look at the moon, highlight architectural narratives and the modernist aesthetic. The variations of white and light highlight a simplicity allowing form and shadows to be accentuated. There is a sense of visual purity and simplicity and yet these works harbour complex ideas and explorations. Honeywill is encouraging us to see rather than just look.

We have come together, artist and architect, to make a work that continues to develop shared ideas explored through our different disciplines.  Groundcover, is an abstracted, white, gridded landscape, overlaid with architectural notations symbolising the home. Is the built fabric eroding the landscape or is the landscape beginning to erode the built fabric? The modular work continues the patterning and repetition seen in Honeywill’s work, while a sense of ambiguity leaves open interpretation of the forms and their relationship with the eroded modernist house plans designed by prominent Tasmanian architect, Ray Heffernan, my father.

Groundcover is infused with questions that provide the springboard for our investigation. Is the cultural obsession with housing estates and therefore disconnectedness from the urban environment work against the achievement of considered, design outcomes? Does urban sprawl prevent the building of communities? Does lack of community impact on human interaction and social isolation? 

The Finnish academic, Juhani Pallasmaa said, ‘Architecture is a direct expression of existence, of human presence in the world.’ In other words, the built environment reflects the values of the society that exists at that point in time.  By observing the layers of time we can see how these values through the ages have shifted. Honeywill’s work draws out some pertinent questions about the way we treat the environment and gives us reason to consider our priorities.  If we pause to reflect on our contribution, will we be proud of the legacy we have created for future generations? As a society we have the talent and expertise to solve problems and make beautiful, stimulating environments for people. We just have to value them.

Peta Heffernan
Curator/architect, Liminal Spaces

More images of the exhibition: here

The details: Greer Honeywill, IN-Grained works in wood (exposed and disguised) 2003-2012. Curated by Peta Heffernan 13 July - 12 August 2012. Carnegie Gallery 16 Argyle St, Hobart 7000. 10am-5pm

*Philistines: The word has entered the lexicon to describe brutish barbarism (is that tautological?). But history is written by the victors and the actual Philistine civilisation was apparently enlightened and advanced. They just lost ...

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Politics | Local | State | Arts | What's On

You Burn Me

16.07.12 5:28 am

Charles Mengin, here

The tea-rose, tea-gown, etc.
Supplants the mousseline of Cos,
The pianola “replaces”
Sappho’s barbitos.

Ezra Pound - Hugh Selwyn Mauberly

Fragment 38:

You burn me.

What are we to make of such a fragment? A fragment with so little information. We know very little about Sappho. We do not even write her name in her dialect. Psappha would be more correct. Even her name is mediated by years of eroding and mutating tradition. All that we accurately know about her life could easily fit into a single tweet.

She was born on the island of Lesbos, but was she a lesbian? Or was she, as the Victorians affirmed a teacher, the head mistress of a finishing school? We do not know. A priest in a cult of Adonis? A sacred prostitute at the temple of Aphrodite? How much does it matter? So much of what we think we know is just guesswork based on scattered ashes of the body of her works.

She seems to have been born as early as 630BC, and may have died in 570BC. One of the entries in Byzantine encyclopaedia, the Suda, dates her to the 42nd Olympiad (612-608BC). Even this simple date is ambiguous,  tantalizing. Was she born in 612 or is this date her floruit, her time of flourishing?

Even straight forward and to our minds basic facts are open to argument. Did she marry and have children? An entry in the Suda suggests she married the wealthy Kerkylas from Andros, but this may be bawdy Attic punning propaganda, as the name could be taken to mean the she married ‘Dick Allcock from the island of Man’. Possibly this came from one of the many Athenian comedies which used Sappho as a figure of ridicule. As the political climate in Athens became less tolerant of the noisy, boisterous democracy of the rowers, of the assembly, and the theatre; and as those who had been lampooned turned more and more to the law courts for compensation, the Middle Comedy period arose. In this style of comedy stock characters were used as cover for political critique, until the characters took on a life of their own, and became an end in themselves controlling the poets more than being controlled. Apparently Sappho was one of these characters, sexually promiscuous and often portrayed as a lesbian, and so fiction and biography became intertwined. 

As an aside it is interesting to note that Athens, the cradle of democracy for the modern West, was one of the more sexist communities in Ancient Greece. Women could not own property, and if the husband died the wife was often married off to her uncle. She was described as being ‘of the land’. Marry the widow to get the farm. In our modern contract of falsehood Sparta represents a militarised Socialism similar to the collective of the Borg or the unfeeling Cybermen of Doctor Who. In reality compared to Athens Spartan women were accorded greater freedoms. This may have been because of the practical problems caused by the men spending most of their time in the regimental mess. In Laconia the young women exercised naked, as only Spartan women could give birth to Spartan warriors.

In the barbarous eastern frontier, where Sappho was from, women had various rights. This goes a long way to explaining the misunderstandings between Troy and the Achaeans, which led to the long cruel war. In the mind of Paris if Helen wanted to leave her husband she was free to do so, and was also free to take her dowry with her when she left. In mind of Menalaus Alexander had violated an oath, had committed sacrilege

It is probably too much to assert that this middle comedy characterisation of Sappho as promiscuous and a lesbian was the deciding factor in Pope Gregory ordering the burning of her books. We do not know what was in the nine lost books. But we can assume that the lies generated about Sappho some two centuries after her death and the legend of insatiable sexual hunger that was created around her tempered the views of the Pope. In 1072 the Papacy ordered her books burnt. These perfect songs had survived some 1500 years of natural and man made disasters, the numerous wars and upheavals of the lived history of the Mediterranean. Did not Plato suggest that the comedies of Aristophanes played no vain part in bringing into being the mood of hostility towards Socrates? And that these distortions of the thoughts of Socrates acted upon the minds of the Athenian jurymen. In the Republic Plato suggests banning comics such as Aristophanes. The ones who earn their dinner ridiculing actual persons. For as we know only too well from our daily going about our business that the spreading of falsehood and rumour in the public culture takes on a life of it’s own and that these lies confront us as an alien force. If, as is said in the old proverb, ‘a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on’ how many times will the lie circle our networked globe? Will it race round the world even to the extent that, like Superman flying so fast and so often around the world, time stops and then moves backwards. And so the electron fast lie is able to rewrite history, our shared artificial narrative.

Was Sappho a lesbian, or was she married? Again the poems seem to point to both of these possibilities. Of course one can be married and have children and at the same time be a lesbian. They are not mutually exclusive. Indeed we all have different modes of existing at different times of our lives. As it seems fairly certain that she was an aristocrat, it could be that she entered into an arranged marriage. Nobles have had arranged marriages for as long as they have wanted power.

One poem refers to Cleis, her ‘kala pais’, but does this mean beautiful daughter, or beautiful slave? The Greeks used the word pais to mean child. In the same way that rednecks in southern states of America would call black men boy, pais can also mean slave. This idea of the slave as childlike can be seen in French which still uses Garcon to mean boy, servant or even waiter. Obviously the language of domination. Most commentators seem to agree that it was her daughter, and I am not in a position to argue, but after almost 3000 years of time, writing as she did in an obscure dialect, how can we be sure what we know.

We can be pretty sure that she had to flee Lesbos and spent some time in Sicily, then a Greek colony. We know this as Cicero tells us a statue was erected in her honour in Syracuse. She may have been exiled for political activity, or the activity of her family. We do know she came back to Lesbos.

The one thing that we do know, and the only thing I feel we can truly focus on, is the fact that she was greatly admired as a poet. We know that she invented new forms of metre, notably the aptly named Sapphic stanza. Three lines of eleven syllables, with a fourth line of only five syllables. The Greeks, like the Latins based a line of poetry on alternating vowel sounds; not as in English poetry on stresses. In the following model:

- is a short vowel sound,
u is a long vowel,
x means the author could use either long of short.
The line would look like this:

- x -  x - u u -  u - - 

An example in English by Alan Ginsberg

  Red cheeked boyfriends tenderly kiss me sweet mouthed
  under Boulder coverlets winter springtime
  hug me naked laughing & telling girl friends
      gossip til autumn

We also know that her poems were meant to be sung, accompanied by the lyre. The barbitos that Pound mentioned in our opening quote. Plato, among others, spoke of her as the tenth muse. Many poets including the Roman Ovid and Catullus greatly admired her work, even if they had muddle headed views about the woman herself. In another confusion of history we do not know if Sappho invented the plectrum, what we would call the pick for playing the lyre or if she invented the pectis, another type of stringed instrument. Both, neither? The truth does not really matter. For these legends show the esteem the ancients felt for her as a lyric poet. If alive today would Sappho be an example of what we would call a singer songwriter?

How much can we deduce of her character from the poems that have come down to us? I do not think we can place too much value on the remaining fragments in giving us a clear answer. Often the poet will write a work from a specific point of view, will try on different voices and personas, which may or may not agree with the innerheld views and feelings of the maker. This is even more true in any analysis of Sappho, as we have many fragments but only a few completed poems. I do not think we can view her poetry as confessional in the same way that we can with the works of Sylvia Plath. As we can be no more that transitory confused visitors into her world, obscured as it is, as we are, by the fog and shadows of the past. We can only admire her work. We must refrain from using as a reinforcing mortar our bias and feelings in an attempt to support and add form to the crumbling walls of her often very sparse words.

The Middle Comedy Athenian playwrights, Victor Frankenstein like tried to reanimate Sappho, but with no understanding of electricity it seems they were left with the frail expedient of rubbing amber over her dried bones. Our modern artists attempt to energise Sappho. As so little is known, Sappho is one of those compelling figures of history who seem to work like a magnet on the razor sharp minds of our poets. Over the generations she has been stripped of her actuality. The dry brittle turning into dust bones of Sappho have been dug up and fashioned into a type of skeleton for both ancient and modern critics to try to reanimate. Attempts have been made by these thinkers of thoughts to bring her back to life in their own zombie image. Cutting and pasting great slabs of fleshy meat lies and transplanting the bloody vital organs of ideological contradiction; emotional, political and psycho-sexual.

As we have no real basis for raising Sappho from the dead, it is my feeling that we should let the poems stand, as best we can, on their own and admire their diamond sharp neatness.

Maybe she was ‘looking small and dark, and exactly like a nightingale with misshapen wings enfolding a tiny body’ as a scholiast to Lucian said, or maybe she was violet-haired and honey smiling, as a
contemporary said.

Did she threw herself into the sea from the cliff of Leukates for love of Phaon of Mytilene, as some attest? Did she die at home in her bed, surrounded by loved ones and family?

So little actual knowledge so much ink spilled.

Sadly the ravages of time, the hostility of those who opposed paganism, the hostility of generations of misogynists, have left us only torn faint smouldering embers dug from out long buried garbage heaps. These embers are still bright, and are still able to burn under the skin of the reader after over 2500 years.

I have translated, in no particular order, some bits and pieces below. I have not even tried to reproduce the metre of her work, as the gap between modern English and the obscure inflected Aeolian tonal dialect is too great for us to safely jump over.

Fragment 16 - Is this a critique of Homer’s hymn to violence?

Some they say the prancing cavalry
Others an army with banners
Still others the ships under sail
Are the most beautiful
Upon this black dismal earth.

But I say it is the loved one…

Fragment 31 - Something is happening here. This piece is full of sexual tension and energy. Is she lusting after the man or the woman? Is she behind the bushes spying on young lovers and bringing herself to orgasm. It seems that way to me. As green as grass could also mean as fresh as grass. Which makes me wonder; could Sappho be thought of as an Ancient Madonna?

Like a virgin? This fragment falls apart at the end, and we are not sure if the last line is meant for this poem.

He appears to me, this man,
As lucky as the gods. The one
Sitting cheek to cheek close to you.
You sweetly speak, he answers, obeys.

And your laughter excites desire.
In my breast my heart quivers.
The merest glance on you
And my voice fails.
My words break into pieces.
Fire burns under my delicate skin.
My eyes blind, a roaring fills my ears.

And sweat pours down, a trembling
Takes hold of me, as green as grass
I am. And a little death appears to me. 

But all can be dared.

Fragment 36, in love in life, in all things this should be our motto.

I yearn after, I strive for…

Fragment 38 - simple, opens the door to the room of many questions.

optais ammi.
You burn me.

Fragment 47 - universal and timeless, who of us has not felt this?

As the winds shakes and bends the mountain oaks,
So love has disturbed my purpose…

Fragment 52 - simple, clear, almost Zen like. Also a fine example of the very literal style of the Ancient Greeks noted by Robert Browning.

The moon is setting
The Pleiades as well.
In the middle of the night
The hours pass.
Alone I sleep.

Fragment 54 - no context here, have no idea what she meant, but it sounds nice. I think it could be Adonis again.

Down out of heaven he came,
All dressed in purple.

Fragment 82 - the Kleis fragment mentioned above

I have a lovely daughter
Formed like golden flowers.
Beloved Kleis.
Not the wealth of Lydia
Nor lovely…

Fragment 138 - A lovely image, note that Sappho uses the masculine form of my love, filos, as opposed to feminine file.

Stand before me love, face to face
Let your beauty pour into my eyes

Fragment 140 - Adonis, the beloved of Aphrodite was a complex character in Greek mythology. When the spring rains come and the snow melts the rivers of Lebanon run red (with the rusty red earth) and the ancients used to say that this was the blood of the dieing Adonis. The cult of Adonis seems to have been secret women’s business, and during his yearly festival women would plant seeds in a small thin bowl of dirt, the plants would grown quickly, and as quickly they would die off. Adonis is one of the models of Frazer’s ideal of the dying God. I tried to capture the alliteration of this verse. Kuthera being another name for Aphrodite.

He is dieing, O Kuthera,
Your darling Adonis
What is to be done?
Beat your breasts daughters,
Rend your dresses.

If I was to reanimate Sappho I would imagine her running her own symposium. Vast drinking and dinner parties with gorgeous young things as sharp as they were beautiful lounging languid on pillows stuffed with rose flowers, and hurling copper eyed ladles across the room, trying to make the most satisfying clatter as the ladle hit the wine jug. A delicate wine splatter following. The room would be abuzz with conversation and bon mots and perfumes and flirtations and the sound of the lyre would announce a new song from the Divine hostess Psappha of Mytilene.

Ed: Wiki on Sappho here

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Arts | Poetry

Fight the Fiery Fiend: Colonial Fire Fighting 1803-1883.

The Hobart Bookshop
16.07.12 5:08 am

The Hobart Bookshop and Roger McNeice (OAM) are pleased to invite you to the launch of his new book,
Fight the Fiery Fiend: Colonial Fire Fighting 1803-1883.

How did the early settlers fight fires in the Colony? How did they fight fires on ships laying in the Derwent River? How were fire brigades first formed in Van Diemen’s Land and what effect did the convict brigades have at Port Arthur?
McNeice’s new book is richly researched and includes many early photographs and documents.

Where: The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square
When: Thursday 2nd August, 5:30pm
What: Michael Brown, Chief Officer of the Tasmanian Fire Service, will launch Roger McNeice’s
Fight the Fiery Fiend: Colonial Fire Fighting 1803-1883.

Free event, all welcome.

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
P 03 6223 1803 . F 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Books | What's On


Paul Arnott, Acorn Press Ltd
16.07.12 5:06 am

When Bruce Park said goodbye to his oldest son Nathan one Friday morning he had no idea that it would be the last time he ever saw him alive.

Later that day twenty four year old Nathan was crushed to death in a workplace accident.

Now Bruce Park has written the story of his grief in a short book called The Birthday Card, the title of which was inspired by a card his son gave him the last time he saw him.

Speaking at the launch in Melbourne on last week Bruce Park said, ‘My precious Nathan…6ft 6ins tall, hair that was either cut to almost nothing, or left to grow into a mass of curls…a smile that could lighten and lift the mood of any room and a sense of life and adventure that always kept you on the edge of your seat. From the birthday card that Nathan gave me the last time I saw him alive. The same card which inspired the book we are launching tonight…“Dear dad…Happy birthday. I hope you have a great day. I wish you health and happiness this year and the rest of your life. Dad you told me once a story of a grandfather clock and a young clock. The grandfather clock said don’t worry son..take it one tick at a time. Try to remember this dad when you feel down and overwhelmed. It helps me through my struggles when I remember that.
love Nathan.” ‘

Paul Arnott, the chair of Acorn Press the book’s publisher, said, ‘The Birthday Card is a wonderfully tender story of a father’s love, which raises more questions than it does answers. It is a beautifully told, moving story of grief, courage and faith. We are proud to publish it as our first exclusive eBook in this increasingly digital era.’

Digital Review Copies can be ordered by contacting Paul Arnott on 0408 423 747 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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The Ducks Line Up

16.07.12 5:03 am

Dave Groves, A Digital Photographer,


Three elles….
July 11, 2012

I love it when the ducks line up and the sweetest works of man and nature combine to visual perfection.

Light becomes my friend.

Luck is on my side.

That’s why “Love, Light and Luck” are the best tools anyone with a camera can have.


See more of Davo’s beautiful work, here

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