Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The End

R.I.P. Edith Bliss. R.I.P. Lizzie Watkins. R.I.P. William Rodriguez Gomez. R.I.P. Maurice Sendak. R.I.P. Vidal Sassoon. R.I.P. Lee Richardson. On Wednesday this week we were off to aMBUSH Gallery for the “Curvy” book launch and group show, an impressive assemblage of female artists, from Australia and around the world, mainly dealing in drawing, painting and printmaking. The work, from what we could see, was beautiful and primarily figurative, but it was hard to see, as the gallery was so over-crowded. Alice Amsel was there to represent – i really hope she makes something of herself in the sharkpit of the art world. She deserves it with her amazing talents. And she’s certainly keeping some fine company, if this exhibition was anything to go by… On Thursday we were off to a screening of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”, David Gelb’s loving ode to 85 year old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. No less than Anthony Bourdain said he would like his last meal to be one of Jiro’s pieces. His (sushi only) restaurant is unassumably set in a Tokyo subway station and seats 10 people, but it has been awarded 3 Michelin stars, and meals start at 30 000 yen (approx. $300). Diners have to book a month in advance. The dishes looked like foodie heaven, and had me drooling. But the real strength of the film lay in its’ depiction of Jiro’s strong work ethic, attention to detail, mastery of his craft, and passion for his life’s work, which was so inspiring, and can be applied to any creative field. Strongly disciplined, often stern, and a perfectionist, the film also delved into his relationship with his sons, who live somewhat under his shadow, despite being excellent cooks themselves… All in all, an inspiring exploration of how to follow your dreams and succeed at them. Mouth-watering… On Friday night The Jean Genie and i stopped into Bill+George for welcoming drinks, as we are taking up a studio space there to work on our projects. Very exciting. But we couldn’t stay long, because we were off to Allphones Arena to catch a rare concert by Prince! His Purple Highness amazed and astounded. We were perched high up in the cheap seats like little birds, but thus we thought we had the perfect bird’s eye view. A view of what, i hear you ask? A giant 360 degree ‘in the round’ stage in the shape of his androgyne symbol, elaborate lighting, and a brilliant set that drew mainly on his 80s oeuvre, when he was at the height of his popularity. But, no carbon copies, the songs were stretched and folded and fucked with, and ran into each other in intricate medleys. Although the show opened with an acoustic instrumental of “Purple Rain”, the actual version didn’t come until near the end, and went for 20 blistering minutes. Other highlights included “Mountains” (damn funky), a plaintive “Sometimes It Snows In April”, and of course “I Would Die 4 U”. He even threw in a bit of MJ! His outfits were spangly and sequiny and gold and silver and black, and he took his high camp cues in a direct lineage from Little Richard. I personally found the show very healing; i guess that’s the power of music. I laughed, i danced, i was amazed, i had tears in my eyes. The Jean Genie and i met through Prince’s “Controversy”, so it was so appropriate that he finished with that. I couldn’t think of a better way to end the evening, on a high… On Saturday we were off to Carriageworks to catch Victoria Hunt’s “Copper Promises: Hinemihi Haka”, a vivid solo contemporary dance piece drawing on her Maori heritage, set to a decade’s worth of sound recordings that had been melded into a visceral soundscape. Across a bare stage she ran and weaved, her dancing raw and fractured, lights strobing across her and building the intensity until it was almost too much to bear, but strangely sensual and beautiful… Then we headed off to The Valve in Tempe for “Sanctuary 2012 – The End of Daze”, which was a reunion for Sanctuary, the old goth club from the 80s. I must admit i went more out of curiosity than anything, but it was amusing to see so many still rocking the full on goth look after so many years. And, as far as music, if i can admit that Whitney Houston nowadays gives me a nostalgic rush despite me never being into her music, then i suppose there’s no harm in admitting that KMFDM did on this night too, despite me hating them back in the day. Funny how the world turns around, eh?... For something completely different, we then headed to “Reggae’s Got Soul” at The Sly Fox, where The Auskas (great name!) were entertaining with their whitebread version of reggae and ska. Hard to go wrong with a rhythm like that… After that, things got a bit messy, but i think they smoothed over by the next day… In other news, long term readers will know of my fondness for Wiz from the ever-awesome BOSOM, so will no doubt be as pleased as i am that she has just given birth to a baby boy, named Rocco. I wonder, was the name inspired by “Rocco and His Brothers”? (one of my favourite films…) (hey, barely out of the womb, and i’m already wishing brothers on them!...) Her and hubby, artiste Ross Radiation, are proud as punch (as is to be expected), and i’m sure he could care less that i didn’t make it to his exhibition at the Beach Burrito Company in Newtown earlier in the week due to film commitments… It’s nice that we have an example of new life beginning, because what i’m about to write may shock some readers. You may not have seen it coming, but this blog entry is actually going to be my last one. Yes! I am hanging up my blogger pen for the foreseeable future. There are a number of reasons for this, and i have been considering it for a while. A big one is that i hate the new format of blogspot, which makes what i write look ugly and hard to read. I myself personally don’t get time to read many blogs anymore, and it seems many are making the exodus from these types of sites to the shiny new worlds of Tumblr and Instagram and what-have-you. My relationship with The Jean Genie has been suffering from entries i’ve written where i’ve confused the public and private lines and he has felt disrespected. This was never my intention, to disrespect him or anyone, and i make my apology to him (really the most lovely guy in the Universe) and anyone else who has been offended. But The Jean Genie’s examination of my blog, and questioning of it and its purpose, has led me to really question that myself. I guess, using the incidences of my life as fodder for an exploration of my worldview and beliefs has sometimes led to me crossing boundaries. But, for the most part, i tried to be positive and cheery and relevant. (sometimes i failed) But it has amazed me how many readers have come along for the journey with a blog that is pure writing, no pictures or free mp3s or videos or anything, so that gives me some small measure of faith in my skills (though i believe a true artist is never satisfied…). But now is the time to move on. As mentioned, we are taking up a space at Bill+George, to work on our film and our live art hybrid theatre piece, so that is where i am going to be directing my creative energies for the foreseeable future (plus i won’t have time to go out!). And who knows what the Future holds? All i know is that i’m excited that The Jean Genie is there to share it with me, and i feel sure that i will see some of you along the way anyway. Thank you for sharing this journey with me so far, my dear readers. It has taught me so much. For the past few days i have had “The End” by The Doors in my head, so i think it is only appropriate to fade out my final blog to the strains of that… beautiful friend… xxx

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Cisco Kid

R.I.P. Bethany Wallace. R.I.P. Alexander Oen. R.I.P. Adam “MCA” Yauch. On Thursday this week i was off to Kaleidoscope Gallery to catch Arnie Arnold’s exhibition “Lost In Love”, a collection of colourful paintings focused on the female form, with a certain pop art influence, and maybe a touch of surrealism, heightened by the fact that the figures were faceless, a stream of colours taking the place of features, giving them an eerie edge and an almost melancholy quality. Most impressive were his elaborate sculptural assemblages, in stoic black, contrasting with the colourful paintings, and highlighting doubly the darkness inherent behind them… On Friday we were off to Customs House at Circular Quay for the “Head On” photography festival opening, which was crowded beyond belief. We were particularly interested to catch Jagath Dheerasekara’s “Manuwangku: Under A Nuclear Cloud”, which depicted in documentary photos Aboriginals in the Muckaty community in Northern Territory, the Warlmanpa traditional owners, whose land was being compromised by plans to host a federal radioactive waste dump on it. The photos showed the community going about their daily lives, but the nature of the exhibition’s premise gave the photos an ominous quality. Unfortunately, we could not stay long, as we had arranged to catch up with Swedish Karl at Harts Pub in The Rocks, and he kept texting me (getting restless and lonely), so we had to skedaddle. But that was okay, as the exhibition was so crowded that it was hard to contemplate. Definitely an exhibition to go back and revisit without the packed crowds… On Saturday we were off to see “The Avengers”, the new action-packed movie based upon the Stan Lee comic book creation. This time it wasn’t just a super-villain they were up against, but an alien invasion, so the whole set-up was super-fantastic and overblown. But thoroughly entertaining. We were in just the mood for a bit of mindless colour and flashiness. Not that it didn’t have a dark side. It fell into that style of comic book film that seems more descended from graphic novels, where the heroes are kind of anti-heroes, and somewhat dark and tortured. I related most to Scarlett Johansson’s character The Black Widow, and of course The Incredible Hulk, as it seems i’ve been dealing with him a lot lately. And it had Robert Downey Jr in it. Couldn’t go wrong. (and it didn’t – they won…) Then we were off to meet Ang at funky small bar Dry Land in Redfern. I’ve been impressed with the small bars popping up around Sydney since the small bars laws changed, and this one was no exception. Afterwards, we headed around the corner to The Eathouse Diner for dinner, which was divine. I had the Pork Terrine with onion and cranberry pickle. I can still taste the cranberries popping in my mouth…

Saturday, April 28, 2012

This Sporting Life

R.I.P. Tiago Klimeck. R.I.P. William Lawlis Pace. R.I.P. Tommy Marth. Wednesday was a public holiday for ANZAC Day, and we were off to Allianz Stadium in Moore Park for the footy match between St George Illawarra Dragons Vs Sydney Roosters. We stopped off first in a Sports Bar in Paddington to watch the traditional ANZAC Day games of two-up, then got to the stadium early. The Jean Genie was in a panic to get the best seats (of the cheap seats), but, as we settled in, our bay was near empty. A perfect view… Already a windy day, a particularly wild wind began to blow through the filling stadium, whipping people’s hair and animating the grass. I began to imagine that an alien landing was taking place a la “Close Encounters” – and what better venue to witness it than a stadium such as this? I feared any game afterwards would be an anti-climactic disappointment… The Jean Genie lent me Michael Chekhov’s classic acting technique book “To The Actor” to read, and, as i leafed through his life story in the preface, i remembered my family taking me to football matches as a youngster and making fun of me, my head lost in a magazine or a book, even at such a viscerally physical and phenomenological event. Some things never change… Tim Freedman from The Whitlams (whose music i can’t stand) was wheeled out to do an interminable piano ballad that was thankfully lost in the wind. (i’m sure it was something quite poignant and appropriate for ANZAC Day, but whatev’s… Hey! Everyone’s a critic…) The Australian Army Band’s marching music was much more to my taste, and allowed time to reflect on soldiers fallen, and the senselessness (and current, i guess, ‘necessity’, at this point in our human evolution) of war… And then the match! The Jean Genie is so funny when he gets super-excited when the Dragons score. It’s like he just landed a dream part… I remember i once wrote a poem that went “i don’t follow the player, i follow the game”. Well, this was what you might call a ‘tight game’. The Dragons’ slogan was “2012 – Year of the Dragon”, which made me feel we were following the right team, even when luck wasn’t on their side. But, a good game is a good game, no matter which side wins. (Well, for me, anyway…) The Dragons fans began to pour out of the stadium, glum that they’d lost by a whisker, but, then, in a thrilling flash, the Dragons scored and won, all in the last 45 seconds. As the sky stained an inky purple, all was right in the land once more… That’s the Year of the Dragon for ya – Dragons are a lucky charm! :) On Thursday i was off to Liverpool Street Gallery in East Sydney for David Serisier’s exhibition “The Fluorescent Sun”, which consisted of large paintings of blocks of colour, with yellow as the recurring palette. I suppose it was to reflect the sun of the title (i do like yellow…), but isn’t it also meant to be the colour of intellectuals and suicides? (i suppose artists are meant to question and personally re-interpret…) Hmmm… Then we were off to The Hutch, a warehouse space in St Peters, ostensibly to see an electronic performance by David Urquhart and David Abello, but things were running late, so we didn’t end up getting to see them. Instead, we saw Leroy Lee, a folky guitar player/singer, kind of in the vein of Nick Drake meets Ron Sexsmith. Often crowds are too noisy for that sort of music, but they were appreciative… Very ‘fuck me, i’m sensitive’ music, as he himself put it… Then we were off to the Sydney Comedy Festival at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville to catch Rhys Nicholson, who could not really be described as ‘sensitive’… He gave his usual strong performance of acerbic wit, a strain of misogyny, in your face gayness, and pillorying social stereotypes. Aside from feeling slightly rushed in delivery (time constraints of a comedy festival?), he commanded the stage, and seems to have found his niche market. However, this made us wonder: where would he parlay his career to next? We were trying to envision him on television. Hmmm…. It will be interesting to see… This weekend, The Jean Genie and i booked ourselves into a schmick hotel, not only for some healing playtime together, but also for creative industry, working on our latest project, some video art that could best be decribed as having a sploshing theme. Wet and messy sensual fun, with some carry over into watersports. The Jean Genie made it look beautiful as usual, and i can hardly wait to see the finished product… Today, aside from some re-decorating, i am determined to finish Christopher Isherwood’s “The Berlin Stories” (i have about twenty pages to go…), and, to celebrate, i may watch “Cabaret” (based upon the book…) tonight. As if i hadn’t had enough, i’m in the mood for more divine decadence…

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Changed Brain

R.I.P. Piermario Morosini. R.I.P. Greg Ham. R.I.P. Levon Helm. R.I.P. Meenakshi Thapar. R.I.P. Dick Clark.



On Tuesday we were off to Plump Gallery for Anto Christ and Casio Ono’s exhibition “Resurrection Outside The Realm of the Natural World”. Anto created colourful paintings with motifs of aquatic life, abstract explosions of colour, and Casio presented large colourful crochet sculptures that reminded of fat spider’s legs. Decorative and beautiful, the works showed a deep love for vibrant colour…

On Thursday we did a bit of gallery hopping. First up, at Carriageworks, we mingled at “Dimension Crossing”, the Performance Space Season Opening, where the hybrid live art theatre crowd were out in full force to munch on cheese, rolls, grapes and celery, and, of course, support the new season…

Then we were off to Dr Pong in Darlinghurst for Jesse Willesee and Daniel Havas’s show “22 Girls Smoking Weed”, which was just that: photos of girls smoking weed. It was very “Vice” Magazine…

Then we were off to aMBUSH Gallery for “Hyper Reality Dimension XX”, which showcased aMBUSH Gallery’s usual pithy mix of pop art of various genres, with a fierce edge. Loved the sculptures made out of old video tapes turned into towers, with their iconic figures painted then embedded within them. But Rebecca Murphy’s painting of a huge fanged/clawed Care Bear rising up and roaring in a snarl of vicious anger seemed to sum up my week the most…

On Friday night we were back at Carriageworks to view the collaboration between The Fondue Set and Miguel Gutierrez. We were presented with a dizzying performance of contemporary dance. We entered to Supertramp’s “The Logical Song” being played repeatedly as the three dancers jerked themselves around the space in spastic spasmodic movements. That cut off abruptly for some silent dancing and still movement, some of the dancers leaving the floor, the soundtrack muted static and context-less conversation. We were bolted upright by Gang Gang Dance’s “Mindkilla”, as the dancing became frenzied, wild, and oddly aggressively sexual, before gently falling into a sweet song with the repeated refrain “Is this how you dance? Is this how you dance?”… It would seem so.

Spent a creative weekend with lots of writing, secured a new studio space, which we are thrilled about, and even shot some hoops of basketball. A change in brain chemistry and attitude… Turning over a new page, and both on the same page. (Instead of “I’m rubber and you’re glue – because it bounces off of me and it sticks to you” – ifn’ you know what i mean….)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tootsie Roll

R.I.P. Mark Selway. R.I.P. Murray Rose.

Disappointments of all disappointments this week, as Peter Hook cancelled his Australian tour performing Joy Division’s “Closer” album. I had planned to bring you details of two events, a Popcorn Taxi screening of the documentary “Joy Division” with a Peter Hook Q+A live onstage, and, of course, the actual performance of “Closer”, one of my all-time favourite albums. Alas, it was not to be. Such are the vagaries of the music industry, i guess… Sigh.

Fortunately for me, i’ve still been busy getting this short film off the ground, so haven’t had too much time to mope over missed concerts. This week we held a production meeting and read-through at The Old Fitzroy Hotel in Woolloomooloo, which surprised us about what was apparent about the strengths of the script compared to what we previously thought they were. Anyway, this baby is underway!... Oh, and i can definitely recommend the Chilli Crumbed Calamari with mayo at The Old Fitz... Huge and delish…

To make up for no Joy Division, we planned a big night on Friday night, which, ironically, mostly was also not to be… Folky popsters Microwave Jenny were doing an ep launch by touring people’s houses, and we got invited along. It was to be hosted by Sophie and Ilona (and their bunnies) with a complimentary BBQ. After that, we were going to head down to the Sydney Theatre Company in Walsh Bay for their “Wharf Sessions”, this time featuring a free set by Faker… Again, alas, it was not to be. We got caught up drinking at a friend’s house and time slipped away…

We did, however, get our arses into gear for Maceo Parker’s midnight show at The Basement. Maceo and his crack band of funk veterans (including a Parliament-Funkadelic bassist, not Bernie Worrell) laid down a bedrock of solid funk classics as a basis, then took them spinning to ecstatic, jazzy heights. Lots of sax soloing (of course), but a tight and thick sound coiled like a fist of smoothest skin, working up ze sweat, and goddamned Fonky!

On Saturday i was off to The Crows Nest Hotel for a reunion with old workmates, one of whom has a newborn baby. Lunch was chicken schnitzel topped with prosciutto, sun dried tomato, avocado, spinach and camembert cheese. There was too much avocado in it for my liking (not a fan); too chunky. But otherwise delish! There was a lot of baby talk, and i’m not clucky, but we headed off to the Sparrow Café for cappuccino. It was a lovely day. The North Shore is nice…

Today we were off to the Museum of Sydney for Oculi member Dean Sewell’s show. “Culture Jammers” was a collection of photographs and documentation of the activist group The Lonely Station (name taken from a Midnight Oil song), 3-6 members active from 2003-2007, who were left-leaning political propagandists who embarked on daring interventions, usually altering billboards, to get across their messages. Most were anti-John Howard and anti-war, critiquing the War On Terror and environmental destruction. Very clever and very bold. An accompanying documentary gave context to the actions depicted. Inspiring and provocative; a rabble-rousing wake up call to action, and against complacency…

On the way home, El Jannah was packed out, so we decided to try another charcoal chicken place, in Merrylands, Mashawi. It could soon rival El Jannah for quality cheap Lebanese fare in the West…

And then more writing, writing, writing – a most productive day. Our little baby is almost ready to take steps! Yay! (shaddup! Clucky about my Art!... lol)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reconstruction of the Fables

R.I.P. Michael Peterson. R.I.P. Jimmy Little. R.I.P. Jim Marshall. R.I.P. Daniel Zamudio. R.I.P. Thomas Kinkade. R.I.P. “Banjo” Barney Mc Kenna.

Well, this week is when this poor ol’ blog first begins to show the strain of this new “4 jobs at once” equivalency creative cauldron, with some of them actually paying me! I had been so excited to bring you, dear readers, my experience of “An Evening With John Cleese” at the State Theatre on Monday, mixing two of my favourite things: legendary comedian John Cleese and the beautiful State Theatre. Alas! It was not to be… As part of the grant conditions for the short film we are making, i was obliged instead to attend an evening session meeting with bigwigs from Screen Australia and Screen NSW, and learning about copyright, intellectual property, marketing and film festivals, et al, and was unable to exchange my ticket for another night (though i’m still not sure why…). Luckily, it turned out to be an informative, valuable and inspiring night, and thus was not in vain. As a consolation prize, we ended up afterwards dining at Micky’s Café in Paddington with our newfound documentary filmmaker friend, where we supped on Gnocchi with field mushrooms and spinach, onion, garlic and a splash of balsamic, and Linguine with prawns, rocket, lemon, chilli, garlic and parmesan. Perhaps because it was a Paddo joint, it seemed a little pricey (particularly drinks), but made up for it with cosy late night atmosphere and tasty fare….

Further dining adventures were in store on Thursday when Melcat gathered the old gang together for an Easter gathering at Camperdown Bowling Club, where we ate at Paskali’s Kitchen: fettucini pasta in the form of Pasko, green tiger prawns in garlic butter with roast peppers, topped with shaved parmesan, and Cleopatra Salad, lightly seasoned prawns, tossed with cos lettuce, rocket, and finished with blue vein cheese. In comparison to Micky’s it was delightfully cheap, though there was no ice for the drinks, perhaps an Easter long weekend difficulty…? Melcat made me a mix CD. She used to send them to me in the post. Both seem so old fashioned these days. And really sweet…

Then we were off to “Buzz” at the Oxford for Aaron J. Smith’s birthday celebrations (i gave him “The Great Escape Artist” by Jane’s Addiction), but spent more time talking with Jain from QueerScreen about fillums and wise moves. “Buzz” was more packed than usual. Well, i guess it was a long weekend… Not that anybody seemed to have great big plans…

We were off to the Civic Underground to have a dance. First up was Javi Sampol setting the tempo with some fine and slinky dark techno. We were straight on the dancefloor. It’s an old trick i learned from putting on parties years ago, where we would put some ‘plants’ on the dancefloor early on, as people don’t want to be the first on an empty dancefloor. Sure enough, they soon followed us and things were swinging. But really i just wanted to dance. We ran into Martin Buttrich on the stairs lugging his gear in, and he was wearing a t-shirt saying ‘Make Mistakes’, but he certainly made none in his set. We grooved and sweated under the Civic’s nine disco balls. The place was heaving and hot, but with none of the gurning you associate with a long weekend party. It was like ‘serious music lovers’ out to have some fun. We didn’t stay for Tini’s set, but I dreamt they kept up the smooth flow all night. Sex music for brain and body…

This weekend we have sequestered ourselves indoors and worked on script and storyboarding and pre-production development and psychology and back story and motivation of characters and all that fun stuff that fleshes a project out. It’s been fun, but hard work. I capped it off with a screening of “Spork”, such a joyous comedy. Today i watched “Woody Allen: A Documentary”, which goes for over 3 hours in two parts, but fairly extensively covers Woody Allen’s epic career, from early days writing jokes for newspapers through Oscar winning filmmaker. It was inspiring to think about a career arc like that, but i think it’s a different world these days. Maybe Woody is just such an eccentric talent that it’s hard to find comparisons…

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Retrosexual

R.I.P. Vigor Bovolenta. R.I.P. Franklyn Liegel. R.I.P. Adrienne Rich. R.I.P. Earl Scruggs. R.I.P. Michael Altenberg. R.I.P. Oksana Makar.

On Tuesday this week we were off to the Opera House for the “Message Sticks” Festival, which opened with an early evening performance piece on the boardwalk on Bennelong Point, “Dancestry”, which mixed traditional Aboriginal dance and modern to mesmerising and powerful effect. Then we headed inside for “Mama Cass: The Tribute Concert”, in which Casey Donovan, belting out the tunes, truly embodied the songs of Mama Cass, with a powerful soulful voice. But it was her sly wit, self-deprecating humor, sailor’s mouth and expressive face which won me over. Though how could you resist “California Dreaming”? One of my all time faves… We emerged to an audience-participation piece of hip hop dancing by Movement Mobs, where the earlier more traditional dancing had taken place. A nice rounding off into contemporary urban culture…

On Wednesday we were off to A-M Gallery in Macdonaldtown for Cigdem Aydemir’s “Extremist Activity”. It was a series of photographs and videos representing a take on the loaded imagery of the burqa, particularly as each image was identically titled “Extremist Activity”. The burqa was taken to absurdist, ‘extremist’ lengths, covering not only the woman but also at the same time shopping trolleys, cart-&-bicycle, a swingset in a playground, and finally the whole image itself. I personally have always found the burqa an attractive fashion statement, harbouring fantasies of hiding away my identity in its’ all-enveloping cloak (indeed, traditionally it is a symbol of ‘modesty’, which many see as a virtue…). It’s easy to see why Michael Jackson was attracted to wear one (though according to my conspiracy-theory-fond trans friend, this was yet another indicator he was closet trans. Of course, she is also convinced Prince is a trans man – “Have you ever seen pictures of his chest??” she demands…). And there has, worldwide and in Australia, been a rash of what many would consider Islamophobic policies introduced by governments to either ban the burqa or require women to lift it (against their religious beliefs) for ‘security’ purposes, perhaps related to well-publicised plots by Islamic extremists vis a vis politics and terrorism (indeed, we haven’t had a World War this century, but the nebulous ‘War on Terror’ of the early part of it will no doubt be how it is defined in years to come…), which is no doubt what Aydemir was referencing here. As someone who has studied most of the major religions (and a fair few cults too), i find that all of them have their good points, but there is a lot bad too. And what is worst (in any religion) is when it succumbs to extremism. (i speak here as someone who, i have come to recognise, can be quite ‘extremist’ in their own views.) I can understand people wanting to congregate with people who share their impassioned beliefs, but what i don’t like is people telling other people they must think the same way. This is perhaps why i am more comfortable around atheists, even though my belief sets tend towards the spiritual realm. (That said, i have friends of every variety, including Muslim, and not necessarily of the extremist variety…) Obviously my major bone of contention with most of the major religions is their homophobia (& some of their treatment of women is pretty shabby), and that is a hard one to get over. It often amazes me to see non-Muslim ‘extremist’ queers (often Anarchist themselves) yelling about Islamophobia, when most Islamic countries would not extend them the same favour. (Whatever happened to ‘No Gods, No Masters’?...) (You don’t tend to see these same queers defending Christianity when it’s under attack; another religion that turns quite ugly in its’ ‘extremist’ phase…) Lord knows i wouldn’t survive Sharia Law… Of course, i know there are queer Muslims too, and support and social groups for them, and films made about them. There are also beautiful sects like the Sufi’s, who seem to embody my spiritual view of Life as an experience (or set of experiences), and not a dogma. (The ‘holy ghost’ if you will…) Not all religious types are dogmatic. There are the Reform Jews, who believe the Bible is a ‘living document’, open to change and debate, and progression. And there are mystics of every type, and i would think to count myself among them. The Holy Qu’ran is a beautiful book, but there are many out there who would pollute its’ sacred message in the name of extremism. But, who am i, a non-Muslim, to say. I am not part of the Ummah. I can only hope to engage… It reminds me, i was telling The Jean Genie about an old book of mine i had discovered whilst looking for something else, of “Tales of the Dreamtime”. He informed me that “Dreamtime” was a ‘whitefulla’ word that denoted/connoted something that was in the past and had ceased to be. But Aboriginal people didn’t call it “The Dreamtime”, as ‘in the past’, but rather “The Dreaming”, and it’s still going on… Obviously, half-ruled by Uranus, i appreciate the extremists who are so far out there with their revolutionary verve and zeal, and, half-ruled by Saturn, i have an appreciation for the strict rules of dogma, but i cast over all of it with a cold, clinical Aquarian eye, that keeps it all at a safe distance. I guess it is good to be reminded that, in extreme cases, not all can afford to do that…

On Thursday we were off to Sullivan + Strumpf in Zetland for their new openings. Dane Lovett’s “Forking In The River Of Time” consisted of beautiful large painted still lifes of modern objects that had an air of obsolescence about them. CD’s, video cassettes, a bong turned into a vase – they were empty of meaning, yet said so much about the detritus and temporality of modern life… Leah Emery’s “In & Out” consisted of amazing, intricate miniature works, embroidered soft furnishings with hardcore porn images adorning them. The imagery was kind of distorted; you kinda had to step back to get a sense of it (like some Dali work), but it was Hot Hot Hot in a way the original porn images probably wouldn’t have been. I’ve always liked crafty girls with dirty minds…

This past weekend The Jean Genie and i have been doing directing workshops for our short film, but we did find time to pop in to artiste David Urquhart’ s birthday soiree. He turned 73 – i hope i’m still as hearty at that age! I gave him an illustrated copy of Guillaume Appollinaire’s “The Bestiary”…

Speaking of the workshops, they were a smash success. We workshopped a scene from Gregg Araki’s “The Doom Generation”, one of my all time favourite movies, so it was right up my alley… All i can say is The Jean Genie is quite the genius, and i am so thrilled to be working with him, even if he can be such a Drama Queen. As i say, “Put the Drama on the stage, baby!” lol…