Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas & a safe New Year.

Thanks to all who have read and contributed to the near & the elsewhere in 2012. Without you the near & elsewhere would just be another ranty art blog (not that I haven't gotten a little ranty at times!).

Here's to a creative & inspiring 2013!

Naomi xx



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Friday, 21 December 2012

GUEST POST: Elizabeth Little goes Legally Blonde



Legally Blonde
Lyric Theatre: September 21, 2012 - January 26, 2012


Now playing at the Lyric Theatre, The Star is the high energy, lots of fun and very pink production that is Legally Blonde. Starring Lucy Durack, Rob Mills, Cameron Daddo, Helen Dallimore and David Harris this  is a laugh out loud production with a heart of gold and some deeper truths that include: being true to yourself, the importance of  behaving  with integrity , the value of a good education, the importance of admitting when you’ve made a mistake, and possibly the importance of dressing well.

Warner Huntington III (Mills)is off to Harvard Law School to follow his dreams of being a senator before the age of 30. He thinks he needs a ‘Jackie’ and not a ‘Marilyn’ on his arm, and is breaking up with blonde girlfriend Elle Woods (Durack), who it turns out is expecting a proposal of marriage not a broken heart. Elle determines to follow Warner to Harvard and sets about achieving the needed academic results to gain admission to the prestigious Ivy League school. Once there she sets about trying to win Warner back. In class she meets Emmett Forrest (Harris), who shames her into applying herself to her studies rather than to her personal love quest, and wins an internship to help defend a high profile fitness guru who is up on a murder charge. Sound a little bit ludicrous? Well sure, this is not a Shakespearen tragedy – but it is a lot of fun.

The songs by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin are catchy in a rock /pop vein and are performed with gusto by the cast. The lyrics are clever and funny. Heather Hach’s book keeps the plot moving apace, without allowing the audience too much time to ponder the finer points. There are lots of silly jokes, including a derisory reference to ponchos early in the piece as a fashion no-no. Later in the show a student turns up to a Harvard party wearing one. A new perfume is called ’subtext’; and a song poses the question of whether a witness in the trial 'is gay or European?' Elle’s sorority friends appear regularly as a type of Greek chorus bringing wisdom and wit to the show, and some killer dance moves.


Lucy Durack shines as Elle, her voice powerful and her diction clear. Hardly ever off stage, Durack as Elle  exudes confidence, determination, kindness  and an willingness to change that makes us cheer for her. Rob Mills is suitably self obsessed as Warner Huntington III, and Cameron Daddo provides us with a lawyer that you’ll love to hate, although neither is as vocally strong as others in the cast.  David Harris is strong as Elle’s potential mentor and love interest Emmett, pointing out her flaws and how she is wasting her opportunity to study. Helen Dallimore steals the show as Paulette, the hairdresser Elle befriends. The value of Elle’s education and her knowledge of the law comes to the fore here, as prompted by Emmett, she quotes from legal precedent in order to retrieve Paulette’s pet dog from her former de facto. Special mention must be made of Erika Heynatz who as fitness guru Brook Wyndham manages to sing while simultaneously performing  a complicated skipping rope routine at the opening of Act II.  The infamous ‘bend and snap’ was not as sharp as I was expecting; the ‘snap’ lacking vigour – but no one else seemed to mind. And Mike Snell‘s UPS guy Kyle stole every scene he was in, particularly with his Michael Flatley Lord of the Dance Irish dancing routine.

Legally Blonde is a lot of fun. The songs are catchy, the dancing snappy, the jokes are silly and funny. Plot lines are resolved in a manner both timely and suitable; hearts are won, murderers discovered, wrongs are righted and everyone lives happily ever after. Beneath its very hot pink exterior there shines a heart of gold. A delightful and frothy night out!

 Elizabeth Little has a B. Art Theory (Hons)and M Art Admin, COFA UNSW. She lives and works in Sydney.

All images supplied by the writer.


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Friday, 14 December 2012

Shakespeare in the Park: Twelfth Night


Shakespeare Shipwrecked Season 2013
Presented by Sport for Jove Theatre, The Hills Shire Council & The National Trust
Twelfth Night: Directed by Damien Ryan
Bella Vista Farm: Saturday, December 8, 2012


Most people reading this will never have heard of Bella Vista Farm, let alone been there. Nestled in the expansive Hills District of North West Sydney, Bella Vista Farm was established in the late 1700s with the property being purchased by John Macarthur and his wife Elizabeth in 1801. John Macarthur is often refereed to as the pioneer of the wool industry in Australia, with his wife doing most of the work as he was shipped back to England to face legal charges. At the time of its creation you could stand on the front veranda and see all the way down to Parramatta, bunya pines lining the way. These pines are still there today. A resent restoration has seen the farm return to its former glory and it was here, as the sun set behind the farm house, that the scene was set for Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.  


Picnic at hand, seated on low chairs, the crowd of about fifty waited with baited breath. The entire cast started in song and we were escorted to the old barn and seated around an elevated, wooden platform that was surrounded by blue tarp. While some of the cast 'sunbaked' on the platform, the rest sat on the edges and moved the tarp, symbolising water. Roy Orbison was pumped from the speakers, beehives were a plenty and suddenly its Shakespeare set in the swinging 60's. A man dives off the platform and disappears into a slit in the tarp. As he emerges he shakes his head, flicking water at the audience - he's just taken a quick dip. This entire opening scene was incredibly clever and perfectly utlised the varying aspects of the old farm. It is in this setting that the storm hits and Viola and her twin brother Sebastian are separated. Out of sheer grief, Viola vows to adopt the guise of a man and insinuate herself into Orsino, Duke of Illyria's, court.

It was a real pleasure to see Tyran Parke perform again as Feste, the fool. I had seen him last at his solo cabaret show, A Light in the Dark (you can read the review here), and this performance cemented him for me as truly a diverse and skilled performer. As well as incredibly funny. Parke graced us with a song as we made the move back to our seats.    


The utilisation of the property and the house was brilliant, with the sets simple yet effective. Anthony Gooley was arrogant yet likable as the love-lorn Duke of Illyria Orsino, who in vain attempts to win the heart of the spoilt and petulant Countess Olivia, played convincingly by Megan Drury. Exceptional performances included Mark Lee as Malvolio, steward to Olivia, who's vanity sees him easily fooled into believing his lady is in fact in love with him, a deception with hilarious consequences. Also of note, James Lugton who plays Sir Toby Belch, uncle to Olivia and his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheeck played by Michael Pigott. Both characters spend the majority of the play drunk and find themselves in all sorts of mischief which is infinitely entertaining. Comic timing is really everything here and the cast pull it off with flying colours.

Sport for Jove's rendition of Twelfth Night was exceptional and highly entertaining. The perfectly chosen cast were brilliant and you really couldn't have asked for a better setting for one of Shakespeare's most loved plays. From here the company will head to Leura in the Blue Mountains to continue the Shakespeare Festival





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Sunday, 9 December 2012

Anomalies: Jim Kazanjian

Jim Kazanjian. Courtesy Mils Gallery.
Jim Kazanjian
Anomalies
Mils Gallery: November 16 - December 9, 2012


Inspired by the classic horror literature of H.P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood and others, Jim Kazanjian creates elaborate collages of found images. These masterful compositions are built from photographs found online so while the finished product is indeed a photograph, no camera is used to capture it. There is a sporadic, random quality to Kazanjian's images that promotes an entirely supernatural quality. There is something beautiful in in the organic process of the work, with the line between what is real and what is not real rendered completely ambiguous. Referring to his work as "a type of mutation which can haphazardly spawn in numerous and unpredictable directions", Kanzanjian creates a layering process through additions and subtractions of elements, with a result that finds its beauty in its surrealism. 
Jim Kazanjian. Courtesy Mils Gallery.

Jim Kazanjian. Courtesy Mils Gallery.

Jim Kazanjian. Courtesy Mils Gallery.

Jim Kazanjian. Courtesy Mils Gallery.

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Saturday, 8 December 2012

NAS: Graduate exhibition 2012

The National Art School Graduate Exhibition was a eclectic mix of exceptionally good work and some not so fabulous work. The following post is just a snap-shot of the artists who really stood out for me. Enjoy.

Alex Latham

Alita Graziano

Alita Graziano

Alita Graziano

Aviva Pinkus

Bess Kenway

Bess Kenway

Bess Kenway

Bess Kenway

Bligh Twyford Moore 

Catie McLean

Ceinwen Hall

Ceinwen Hall

Charlotte Le Broque

Charlotte Lund

Charlotte Murch

Charlotte Perry

Chi-Han Cheng

Chi-Han Cheng

Elyssa Sykes Smith

Elyssa Sykes Smith

Elyssa Sykes Smith

Eve Meagher

Eve Meagher

Gemma Avery

Guy Martin (detail)

Jack Colwell

Jack Colwell

Katie Murray

Katie Murray

Kaya Clarkson

Kelley Stapleton

Kelley Stapleton

Korynn Morrison

Laura Torreblanca

Lotte Smith

Madeleine Hudson

Melanie Howard

Mevagh Clarke

Michael McIntyre

Mie Nakazawa

Mikaela Fitzgerald

Montana Miller

Montana Miller

Nicole Sacks

Paul Kirk

Sarah Martin

Sarah Martin

Shannon Cranko

Shannon Cranko

Susan Krieg

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