Bikini skill

Love seeing my work remixed. This illustration of Kathleen Hanna is by Sara Stode of Sweden. Original pic can be seen at First Three Songs, No Flash -- a blog of gig pics that I've been meaning to update.

Star Wars Downunder

Phoenix collage for Burning Seed

My Partner Jo made this awesome collage to promote Burning Seed 2013. During August it can be seen in the window of Western Riverina Arts' Leeton office, where I work part-time.

Hello Big Brother

Ever thought it'd be great if political parties kept a database of your personal details?

Well, brace yourself, THEY DO!

My local member kindly offered to collect my information with this taxpayer-funded pamphlet containing a form to be added to their taxpayer-funded database, which is exempt from the Privacy Act -- so I'll never know how much they know!

Thanks to Crikey for illuminating me

P.S. Great to see a petition seeking to change this blight on our democracy! 

Grong Grong Creative House

Motor inns are a common sight beside Australian roads, providing a private space for the public. Often experienced as an escape from driving, a retreat for visitors in a town they've just entered. Different heads dreaming on the same pillows each night, sharing in common their basic human needs.

In recent years The CAD Factory have identified various sites in the Riverina to provide venues for events. Each occasion has revealed a new way of experiencing the location, taking the familiar and infusing it with colour and sound and surprising audiences.

The Grong Grong Creative House drew together a diverse group of artists to collaborate with each other and their hosts, proprietors John and Sandra Kooper.

At the driveway to the Motor Inn was hung a screen onto which was projected images of the local railway station. Inside were a few fires and food and snacks, from tea and cupcakes to a soft-serve ice-cream and also a hearty beef and vegetable stew. Soon after Vic McEwan welcomed the audience, the rooms were opened for jostling crowds to experience.

In room number one, Her Riot (Sarah McEwan) presented a song with video film clip and copies of her manifesto. The programme encouraged viewers to get comfortable on the bed and "think about how nice it is lying in bed and watching Rage on a Saturday or Sunday morning".

In room number three, Julie Montgarrett had curated a diverse collection of objects and works. The walls featured prints with charcoal-like textures and then evolving shapes of paper, moving from tree roots to flowing squiggles that ended in the image of a sailing ship like one of the First Fleet -- evoking earlier travellers.

The centre of the room stole the show. A small round table cluttered with objects was patrolled by an inward-facing light. This arrangement added movement and mysterious shadows to the walls of the room, projecting bold dark shapes. The effect mimicked passing headlights, bringing to mind many sleepless nights watching an indiscriminate selection of silhouettes from the surrounding landscape intrude on attempts to rest.

Room number six was one of the most popular, judging by the crowd in the room and comments from visitors. Inside Clytie Smith had curated an impressive array debris to form a Grong Grong Museum, accompanied by a request for assistance in identifying and labelling these contents.

The result was a outpouring of wry and witty crowdsourced captions, among the absurd and whimsical stories that were already included on the walls. And if the interaction didn't stir an immediate response, there were a number of installations hanging from the ceiling featuring stones suspended above lit glass bottles with some beautifully shiny screws.

Meanwhile back in the carpark, a performance by Vic McEwan featured clarinet accompanied by a prepared car trailer, whose tapped and bowed sounds were looped as a rhythmic backing. On the opposite side of the courtyard were a pair of headphones next to a seat, where listeners could hear the sounds of a downpipe flushed with rain flowing frog-like noises and something approximating a possessed cello.

Room number seven held a typewriter, an illuminated piece of prose and pages of typed contributions. Many said they were menus but the contents were not prepared meals, more like chewed sentences. This collaboration between Darrin Baker and Vic McEwan encouraged confession and brought a sentimental clank of letters being stamped onto paper without the chance to undo. "Our mistakes make us, they are often better than our victories" said the programme.

Inside room nine was a short play for a puppet created by Scott Howie, who said nothing as he set a record playing and brought a small figure to life on the television. The song told of loneliness and, combined with minimal lighting, created an ambience that transported the small audiences who gathered every 15 minutes through the evening.

It was interesting to see how effective this worked for different age groups, children at the front of the room captivated by the toy-like figure while adults standing at the back absorbed the lyrics.

Room number ten shared themes with the neighbouring room in a video installation which brought to light the dreams and fears of a travelling salesman. The hotel room his refuge, the bed leading into a video screen showing a figure in slumber as images from another era came and went. A monologue revealed the acute sense of loss in hearing children's voices asking for their absent father.

These last two rooms really caught my experience of visiting a motor inn and it was stirring to read the origins of the video of Howie, which hung in the window between nine and 10:
Shower (is it still raining? i haven’t noticed) is a 6:48 video work that requires the viewer to accompany the image with la vie en rose played on a small music box mechanism.  the title references a  line of dialogue that andi mcdowell says to hugh grant at the end of four weddings and a funeral. this piece might be about missing people you love.
The video is an excerpt of a 24-minute performance recorded earlier in the week, which is also entertaining for this sequence in which Howie remembers his phone is in his pocket:

The CAD Factory's Grong Grong Creative House excelled in presenting disparate yet boldly creative installations and performances. Many of the works drew on the intersection of public and private and it was an excellent showcase for diverse artists working in a multitude of mediums.

Furthermore, The CAD Factory's blog is a good read. See


Headlines like 'Literacy' are begging for a simple typo like a missing apostrophe -- especially in my child's homework :)

Hand signals are dangerous

Alcoholic ginger beer

Winter leads me to drink.

In previous years I've found myself buying stout but lately I've been looking over the ciders that have replaced beer on the shelves at my Woolies.

I bought an alcoholic ginger beer called Frank's because it said it had a genuine flavour. Turned out the flavour was beer with some ginger syrup. There was another brand with a redheaded bloke on the label which also seemed to be gingered beer.

So I started looking very carefully at the labels and found this one called John Hollows to be a proper alcoholic ginger beer. Which may be why they say to be wary of imitations on the label, which calls their recipe 'botanical'.

The flavour balances sweet and dry and I found it to be very moorish but the sugar content felt like one was enough.

Sky is the limit at the Hydro

Exhibition of Leeton artists opened last night at the Hyrdo Hotel. Pictured here is one of Ivanka Jakopec's dreamy paintings.

Also showing were Peter Kopilow, Ann Rayment, Vita Vitelli and Noel Forbes. Clouds gathered in many of the works, which were interesting to contrast brushstrokes and style.

Trent Light exhibition

Trent Light's exhibition Visions of Theirs and Mine opened in Narrandera last night and showed his talent for portraiture, as well as raising questions about tourism and the representation of Fiji in holiday pics.

It's a refreshing look at Fiji that goes beyond travel photography. The works cleverly hung to split the gallery with contrasting perspectives.

On one wall were Light's portraits of Fijians, often in domestic or suburban settings but also in schools and nature. Use of fill lighting added a sense of glamour that brought radiance to faces and subdued the settings, pushing the litter and basic utilities into the background.

On the other wall hung pictures taken by Fijian school kids when Light had handed out a dozen disposable cameras. While there were a number of blurry digits and a few feet, there were faces smiling in ways that can be challenge for a photographer to inspire and capture yet is effortless for kids shooting pics of each other.

Once again I found myself poring over details in the edges of the frames, looking at the school yard and the teachers and the visiting students -- some of whom were also looking at the exhibition at that time, leading to a couple of disorienting moments.

Light's skill as a photographer stands out when contrasted against the 'selfless' and happy snaps of kids but I think his skill as an artist shines in presenting these contrasting perspectives.

The idea of getting beyond glossy brochure images of the country's resorts was a great step but the idea of also collecting images from the people being photographed shows a level of consciousness about the craft.

Black leather jacket

Last week I had a few minutes to kill on the main street of town and went into St Vinnies.

There was a black leather jacket that wasn't too daggy and I've been looking for one in secondhand stores for years. At first glance I knew it wasn't my size and, I was just about to walk away disappointed that I'm yet to find a black leather jacket for me, then I remembered my son could use a decent coat.

So I bought it and took it home and it was a little big for my nearly 10-year old but he hasn't stopped wearing it for days. On a a few nights I've had to make sure he wasn't going to sleep in it.

I'd joked to the staff at Vinnies that it had a good style that wasn't too dated and that I hoped it'd give my eldest some style. He's commented a couple of times that wearing it makes him feel cool.

Seeing him in an old leather jacket reminded me of the leather jacket I bought secondhand from an opp shop decades ago. As I looked at him I began to see how he might look a bit older and then I couldn't help but see myself, so it was probably all projection.