Thursday, January 27, 2011

East London West Sydney

When the Chief and I moved from Richmond (the posh west side of the district line) to Barking (not the posh east side of the district line)in London, our friends grimaced.

Why we didn't choose to live in Putney or Hammersmith or even Earl's Court like the rest of the Aussies in London baffled some.

Home sweet Barking

We moved to East London initially for one reason- it was cheap and we were kind of broke at the time. But once we got to Barking the reasons for staying only grew.

1. Jerk Chicken- I am obsessed with eating it and we could get it everywhere

2. Barber shops- I loved hanging out in them, it sounds weird but I really liked all the local (sometimes Polish, sometimes Bangladeshi)mostly Jamaican barber shops. Because the Chief and I were really the only Australian/Eurasian/Fijians around we got to know everyone and it was always so friendly and fun. A huge bonus for us hanging at the barber shop too was all the hairstyles we got to try out. I tried zigzag cornrows/extensions/bleaching/wigs and weaves. We soul gloed (or "texturised) the Chief's fro once, and I also convinced him that he'd look good with some "Craig Davids" (he still hasn't forgiven me)

3. Westham United: We became massive fans and only lived five minutes away from Westham's home ground Upton Park. Although I am not a huge soccer/football fan, I did like the swearing really loudly with a bunch of strangers aspect of going to watch soccer/football. A huge highlight was walking down the famous Green St singing "Bubbles" and chanting "East! East! East! Laaandann".

4. Cockney Rhyming Slang: I always got it Pete Tong when trying to get it Barry White but Geezers never gave a crispy duck, so it was fine. Innnit *

5. Being so close to Essex: Essex gets a bad rap, but I only have love for East Enders. Ms Mash, my bestie is "proper east ender love" and I wouldn't say anything bad about Essex around Ms Mash or she'll rip your extensions out and stab you with a gel nail if she ever sees you at Faces or the Sugar Hut.

Of course it wasn't always so great in the East, there were moments that were really hairy but East London was always full of life and noise, markets and hair shops, geezers and gangsters.
The mix of cultures, religions and customs was such a great addition to living in London which I don't think I would of got if I had stayed in the West with all the other Aussies. 

So when I heard East London West Sydney a hip hop theatre piece was playing the Sydney Festival, It was a given that I would have to see it. 

Ms P, Mystery and I headed to Carriage Works to see what promised to be a huge mash up of music, multimedia and hip hop theatre.

Western Sydney and East London share a lot of the same social stigmas and battle the same sorts of stereotypes.  East London West Sydney bring together leading emcees and urban poets from both cities in this slick hip hop theatre piece in an attempt to the smash myths and debunk the stigmas associated with both places.

Directed and produced by London based, internationally renowned theatre practitioner and spoken word artist Jonzi D, the small cast of six bring to life stories from these parallel cities

Artists, BrothaBlack, Sarah Sayeed, MC Trey, Rima Najm and Maxwell Golden use a mash up of hip hop, dance, poetry and music to explore themes of racism, drugs, cultural identity and religion in this fast pace performance.

ELWS Cast and Crew

The cast is young and rash and the stories their own. Initially devising the piece over the Internet the cast and crew reworked the piece ready for the festival in just under three weeks.

East London West Sydney, is fast and dangerous theatre, challenging, entertaining and will have you want to bust out a flow too by the end of it.

For me, it  made me appreciate and miss East London. (and hungry for jerk Chicken. )

East London West Sydney plays as a part of the Sydney Festival until Sunday January 30. Buy your tickets here

*I always got it wrong when I tried to get it right. But people didn't give a f**K. Good, isn't it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Everyone deserves a Susan: Annie Leibovitz: A Photograher's Life @ The MCA

I expected to see glamorous Vanity Fair covers at the Annie Leibovitz: A Photographers life exhibit at the MCA.

I was completely prepared to ogle pictures of gorgeous gowns and pretty boys and pregnant celebrities- I didn't expect to ball my eyes out.

Not that there wasn't any said photographs, there were plenty and yes the pictures were often beautiful, excessive and dramatic.

But it wasn't the Demis, Brads, Leos, Kates or Johnnys that really fascinated me.

It was pictures of a woman called Susan which drew my attention away from the glitter and famous naked bellies.

The exhibition covers 15 years of Leibovitz career from 1990-2005, images of Susan were interspersed throughout the exhibition- with very little and sometimes no explanation from Leibovitz.

The photos of Susan were so personal and raw, I scoured the exhibition looking just for them. It was apparent to me that she was someone very special and I was convinced that she was the love Leibovitz life.

Pictures of Susan's cancer prognosis, her treatment and finally her death were dotted between pictures of famed portraits of celebrities, family and also Leibovitz's pregnancies. I found the hanging and order of the photograph's odd and sometimes confronting. Perhaps like in life itself, insensitive in a way that it (life) must and always goes on. 

I have since learned that the Susan in the photograph's was indeed the great love of Leibovitz's life and also a renowned author, activist and intellectual herself.

When pressed to explain her relationship with Susan, Leibovitz once said: "Call us 'lovers'. I like 'lovers.' You know, 'lovers' sounds romantic. I mean, I want to be perfectly clear. I love Susan."

See Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life 1990-2005 for all those images that you know and to see images that you don't but understand.

Showing at the MCA until March 27 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Short and Sweet decade

A pair of gay penguins, a set of Dorris Day and Kyle Sandilands stalkers, a prostitute, a scorned lover, plenty of Mum issues, pokies and a call centre.

Where else can you get all this fun? (No not a family BBQ) Short and Sweet of course, the world's most entertaining, dramatic, camp, hysterical, lovely,10 minute play festival in the world.

With its humble beginnings in Newtown 10 years ago, Short and Sweet has now become the biggest festival of its kind and is held annually from Rockhampton to Delhi.

I've been to a few Short and Sweets over the years and went again last week for round two of the Top 110 and it certainly didn't disappoint.

My favourite play, "The Real Story" a gut wrenching piece about of Mother and Son's fraught relationship took top honours and will go on to compete in the Gala Final on March 11 & 12 at NIDA.

The Real Story: Winner of Week two

The other play that I loved, "Call of the Wilde" a story about two fairy (gay) penguins hatching an egg together in the Central Park Zoo was voted People's Choice.

Call of the Wilde: People's choice

For me what's so great about 10 minute theatre and Short and Sweet is that there isn't any boring bits. Ever. You are either laughing, crying, squinting or shifting awkwardly in your seat which is a pretty successful day at the theatre I'd say.

Short and Sweet is on every weekend until March 12, be quick to secure your tickets, Week 3 is almost sold out!

Click here to get your tickets for Short and Sweet at Newtown Theatre (Playing until February 27)

Click here to get your tickets for Short and Sweet at NIDA (From February 8- 26)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My name in lights- The Sydney Festival

In November I wrote about artist John Baldessari's Your Name in Lights project for the Sydney Festival.

I opened my email this morning and was informed that my name will be screened for 15 glittering seconds on the wall of the Australian Museum on Sunday at the wonderful time of  6.47.40am. 

Will I get up to see it? Probably, but if I don't want to drag my butt out of bed on Sunday morning I can watch my 15 seconds of fame on a web cam on the festival site here
There is still time for you to register to get your name in lights, click here.

Fingers crossed your name appears at a more reasonable time than mine.

Happy Festival everyone!

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