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News and Events from Pation Pics

RAIDERS OF THE LOST LAUGH

Presented by Australian Institute of Comedy In association with the Alex Theatre

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Text / Photographs by Kerrie Pacholli

Open Media team had the opportunity to film and photograph renowned comedic archeologist Professor Beverly Attenborough outside an actual dig site, situated in the bowels of the Espy Hotel in St Kilda.

Extraordinarily well-preserved fossils have been excavated and will be on show at the Alex Theatre 1/135 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda on the 29th February 2020 at 7pm.

Melbourne’s beloved all rounder Brian Nankervis will host this comedic event, the rarest in Australian history.

Other legendary comics include Flacco, Raymond J Bartholomeuz, Ethel Chop, Con Marasco, Elliot Goblet, Elle McFeast, Slim Whittle, Pate Biscuit, Bev Killick and special guest Professor Beverly Attenborough.

© Kerrie Pacholli

Open Media’s Simon Barnett and writer / journalist Jeanette Leigh fluffing Professor Beverly Attenborough in preparation for her film shoot.

© Kerrie Pacholli

Filming her soon to be released micro documentary news story about RAIDERS OF THE LOST LAUGH on 29th February at the Alex Theatre.

© Kerrie Pacholli

Fiercely passionate about her quest to save and preserve past and present Comedy Culture for future generations.

 

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WHO lS THAT? (a masked singer tribute show)

Text by Natalie Evans, Images by Kerrie Pacholli

A fun atmosphere filled The Evelyn Hotel this January for a bushfire fundraiser, with money donated to WIRES. 

Musician, artist and entrepreneur Bridget Chilver from the band Bridget and the Fridge Magnates  orchestrated a tribute show to Channel 10’s The Masked Singer by networking with Melbourne musicians to create a truly unique show.

The masks were made by Bridget and Ashley Warren at Saint Pauls College in Warrigal. The participating singers also contributed to the ideas for what character they would be and their choice of song.

The multi-talented four piece backing band with Layla-Rai Cambourne (Girl Germs/Albert Street) on keys/bass, Daniel Oke (Jarrow/Scraggers) on drums/bass/keys, Pete Stathopoulos (Fivefours) guitar and  James Pacholli (HOTS) on drums/bass didn’t miss a beat providing a professional sound for each singer.

Popular frontman Rhys Renwick from the Rhysics also did a great job keeping the vibe alive by sharing clues for the audience and the judges to guess the identity of who was behind the mask.

 

The room was packed and the vibe was high with 90 plus, very enthusiastic punters. Three hours of entertainment went by in a flash with eight masked singers hitting the stage with highly charged performances.

The masked singers’ included  Fairy Floss performed by Calum Newton (Candy), Princess Fiona performed by Yura Iwama (Culte), Beaker by Jack Kong (Gonzo), Hannibal by Georgia Maq (Camp Cope), Alice by Imogen Cygler (just goes by Imogen Cygler), Baby Yoda by Sam Lyons (House Deposit), Phish by the very athletic Rosco Elliott (Spike the river) Jester by Agnes Whalan (Hexdebt).

A small but very prestigious trophy was given to the audience member who guessed all the singers behind the masks and got to choose a mask to take home.

Baby Yoda proved irresistible.

A lot of work, collaboration and fun went into this very successful event and I do believe that the next WHO IS THAT?  (a masked singer tribute show) is on the boil, so stay tuned to this vibrant local music scene.

A SILVER AESTHETIC: JOSIE WADELTON

“I just love red and every variation of red – they burn into me…” –

By Roberto Chuter

Here is a Google searched definition of a Bohemian: “True modern day bohemians are people who operate from the margins. They are aware that we have inherited a world whose ideologies are depleted and can only be refreshed from outside the box. They work in co-operation with like-minded souls or in solitude, in refreshing our culture.”

This, in particular, could easily be an apt description of the St. Kilda based Italian artist Josephine A Wadelton, better known simply as Josie. Wadleton has been described by some as “The doyen of the St. Kilda arts scene”, “An idiosyncratic figure, mostly swathed in burgundy or purple or both…”and “Her impeneratable eyes and inscrutable countenance, at times, give little away. “

Bohemians like Wadelton usually do what they want, they live life their way, they value freedom and solitude, creativity and all things aesthetic. Call them ”arty-farties,” “bohos,” “free-spirits,” but basically they don’t care. Mostly, they possess a unique and individual artistry, so “artist” may be another word to describe Wadelton. Some think “artist” reeks of pretentiousness, but to me ‘artist’ is perfectly acceptable. As far as I’m aware there is no other word for ‘artist’ other than specific types like a painter or illustrator. . However, it’s still a label really and labels, as far as I am concerned, are for soup cans.

Of course Wadelton has done most of the exhibition gigs or group shows including forty five downstairs, “The Robots Are Coming” at Artists Studio 106, “Collective Momentum” at the Carlisle Street Art Space, MUFF Kunst! Violence Exhibition, St. Kilda Art Crawl and numerous others. Her work has been featured in the films “A Beautiful Request,” “The Dream Children,” “106 Artists: Follow Your Dreams” and “Golden Parrots at the Gallery.”

Wadelton says: “The major focus in my work is to express the inward significance of an art work. What’s represented on the physical level has a cryptic hidden meaning therefore my interest in text, colour, numbers and codes. A lot of my influences have been Surrealism, Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism. I draw inspiration from the language and structure of poetry and scientific terminology. I’ve also explored a variety of materials and techniques, like painting on canvas, collage, digital media, soft sculpture, photography and more recently the moving image.”

In August 2010, at the now defunct Guildford Lane Gallery, Wadelton created a memorable mixed media installation entitled: “Defaced: The Exhibition” which focused on books which have been banned, burned and defaced. Her artistic recreation of the books enabled some of the authors and characters to materialise amongst her works. A coterie of talented actors in appropriate costume performed short extracts from the texts. The guests were stunned, captivated, delighted and were quite taken aback when D. H. Lawrence read an extract from his book “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” about simultaneous orgasms, Patrick Bateman read the horrific rat chapter from “American Psycho”, Humbert Humbert read the famous first sentence from “Lolita” – ““Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.” Then old Radcliffe Hall followed with her classic “The Well of Loneliness” about lesbianism, a stoned William Burroughs read from “Junkie” and finally a Hitler Youth recited from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” as a prayer.

There was a long silence when the readings ended. Anyone for the bar? The guests were all dumbstruck and speechless. Applause followed sometime afterward then they did quickly head for the bar. Wadelton, smiling, was successful. The bohemian had done what art was supposed to do: communicate ideas – politically, historically, spiritually or philosophically. She created a unique aesthetic, an exploration of perception; for pleasure and to generate strong emotions.

In November 2014, a collaboration between Wadelton and St. Kilda filmmaker Katrina Mathers produced a 3 minute experimental film entitled: “The Worship.” It was screened at Venice International Experimental Film and Performance Art Festival.

“This was my first foray into working with moving image digital media. It melded several socio-religious and culture elements together. Ethiopian women, in a Greek Orthodox Christian Church in the centre of Palermo Sicily, prayed as though driven by some sacred invisible force,” says Wadelton, “Their body language acted as a fluid connection between the architecture of the once Muslim Church and its Medieval icons, mosaics and sacred images. This short has now been exported from the Old World to the New World enriching and nurturing a new audience.”

Mathers created a visual biography about Wadelton entitled “In Her Silence” in 2018. Within a background of Wadelton’s work she talks of her love for the mystery and fragility of colour. The  biography also explores a trance-like, meditative and pensive monologue which transcends and challenges the mainstream. Wadelton speaks of her love of silence, of her enduring attachment to art and aesthetics and of the legacy she hopes to pass onto her four adored grandchildren.

“Josie’s incredibly unique, there’s no-one else on the planet like her. She embodies a wonderful strength, she’s inspiring, enigmatic, perceptive and always able to find beauty in the things around her. I feel so honoured to know and be able to work with her. A truly generous and creative spirit.,” comments Mathers.

Both Mathers and Wadelton also created two other video arts, one entitled “Delirious” – A d-word abstract experimental piece created by using the apps “Glitché” & “KinoGlitch which explores the power of words beginning with the letter D. and the second piece “Klunk Memorial” also created by using an app. “This one is my interpretation of “Fallen Leaves” a sculptural installation created by the Israeli artist Menashe Kadishman,” said Wadelton.

Chatting over cafe latte and English Breakfast tea (with Almond milk) I was curious to know how and why Wadelton came to live in Australia…

“The Simeonis’ – my family, emigrated to Australia in 1950. They were originally from Udine in Northern Italy. After the Second World War,my father heard and read  wonderful stories about the “lucky country.” So after he finished working for the Italian Navy in Venice, off we sailed to Australia and settled in Clifton Hill leaving behind aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents and also the beauty of Italian Art, History and Architecture.”

Other questions came to mind, so I asked.

What did you do before you became an artist?

“I was always an artist. I knew that at 4. I remember while at primary school in Italy being shown the wonderful works of Michelangelo, Leonardo, Botticelli, Giotto, Fra Angelico, and Raphael. The nuns asked us to draw like Leonardo! So I was quite shocked when I first went to school in Australia that all the kids were drawing stick figures. I made up my mind then and there that I would be an artist and return to Italy and revisit those Florentine, Renaissance, and Roman cities. Then after finishing high school I studied FIne Arts at the University of Melbourne and went on to art school at RMIT. I ended up teaching art in various high schools in Melbourne and teaching art in high school was not taken seriously back in the 60’s. It was a time for playing up. I was quite relieved to stay at home with my mother and not venture back into the school room. Discipline was not my forte and still isn’t.”

Why do you do the work that you do?

“Because there is a strong creative impulse that drives me.”

Which people or what inspires you to work in the arts?

“Being totally surrounded by the creative community here in St. Kilda, the artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers and the rest.”

What do you think are some of the negatives in your work?

“Struggling with large scale compositions!”

What’s been some of the positives in your work do you think?

“A burning desire to research a subject which will lead to a convincing and informative exhibition or installation.”

If you couldn’t do this anymore, what career path would have followed Josie?

“Archaeology, definitely.”

Which people or what inspires you to work in the arts?

“Peggy Guggenheim. What a wonderful legacy she has left to the world. This year I was lucky enough to see an exhibition by Jean Arp at the Guggenheim Museum. Peggy’s permanent collection includes works by Max Ernst, Picasso, Braque, Calder, Mondrian, Magritte, Jackson Pollock and Kandinsky. I was also fortunate to see Gilbert and George at a live interview at the NGV. They are both known for their distinctive and notably formal appearance and manner in performance art and also for their brightly coloured graphic-style photo-based artworks.”

What are you currently working on?

“I have been greatly influenced by the Bauhaus movement of the early 20th century. The Bauhaus was one of these movements that gave design a unique place in history: a discipline that fused art and craftsmanship with a philosophical approach. In German, Bauhaus literally means “construction house.” Some of the most notable Bauhaus artists and designers included Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Mies Van der Rohe, Wassily Kandinsky, and László Moholy-Nagy. It was also the first school to admit female students to its institution! Though the women were relegated mostly to the crafts department, they nevertheless designed avantgarde furniture, tableware, carpets, textile crafts, woven wall hangings and tapestries. The weaving loom design is mostly limited because of its bold verticals and horizontals. So this is how I developed my latest project  based on the Grid. Also,  wonderfully, I have discovered the power of  apps! They have changed the way I create my art work. Using apps I am able to transform and change the scale of my art into various shapes and sizes.”In recent years, Wadelton has suffered with the incurable and mysterious disorder Fibromyalgia. But with her usual bohemian bravado, Wadelton manages the condition like the execution of one of her artworks – carefully, calmly and with much patience.

“The one big luxury I have is to live alone, to be on my own. Which is amazing. Just love being on my own. I never get lonely, that’s one gift I have, I never get lonely. I just like to be alone.“

Now in her early 70’s, Wadelton with her stylish dress sense, crop of silvery hair, still possesses a beauty and aesthetic that emanates originality. Josie Wadelton – the artist and bohemian, lives by the Gilbert and George quote: “To be with Art is all I ask…”. And she is.

 

The Gadflys ‘Love and Despair’ launch

Mick Moriarty, Elmo Reid, Pete Velzen & Phil Moriarty

St Kilda based singer / songwriter / musician Mick Moriarty, brother Phil Moriarty and fellow long time minstrels Elmo Reid and Pete Velzen filled The Spotted Mallard with cellular enhancing original music at the launch of their new album LOVE AND DESPAIR.

Born from the politically abrasive backdrop of Canberra The Gadflys have been producing albums and touring the world for 15 years.

Mick coined the term Mongrel Jazz to describe their blend of blues, klezmer, skiffle and cool jazz, underpinned by righteously rootsy grooves, which has formed the Gadflys sound.

With resonating consciousness from Socrates being a gadfly to Athens so too The Gadflys spring fourth creative fervor in music and lyrics that prick and stir the soul.

As Phil made mention to the audience, all the band members are fathers to girls. Perhaps to give explanation to their somewhat piecing magical Elvin harmonies. An extraordinary blend considering who was performing on stage.

Mick Moriarty

Just to digress a little from the Album launch it is worth mentioning that whilst on tour in Edinburgh 20 years ago Mick met his wife Susan Provan who has been the Director/CEO of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for over 20 years. Another exceptionally productive union.

Phil Moriarty

Playing the room with their haunting music, I could not but think it is musicians like these that made the descent of the Titanic seem less despairing and final and perhaps that spirit lives on in the souls of musicians of this calibre.

To purchase Love & Despair by The Gadflys

Understand the Method workshop by Peter Kalos

Katherine Innes Peter Kalos & Daniel Schepsis

Katherine Innes Peter Kalos & Daniel Schepsis

By Kerrie Pacholli

For more information &  bookings ; Understand the Method workshop

I am not an actor, professional or otherwise nor aspire to become one. None-the-less tonight I found myself attending the first night of Peter Kalos’s weekend long acting workshop Understand the Method at the Alex Theatre.

I first met Peter Kalos a few short months ago while working with colleagues who set up shop within the Alex Theatre arts hub. I was instantly refreshed by Peter’s presence and his desire for honest connection and to cut to the chase. This I like. Among my endeavours, I create media content and as he had not long moved his acting school Actor’s Lab and theatre company Lab Theatre into the Alex, this is exactly what he wanted.  We immediately had a common thread.Method Acting image © Kerrie Pacholl

A couple of days later he seized the opportunity and invited me into one of his method acting classes being held in Theatre One, the biggest theatre. There were about 30 of his students draped around the theatre in various configurations. Peter was feverishly  pacing up and down the aisle continuously guiding his devoted congregation. They had their eyes shut and appeared to be in their own zones. They were to enact his seemingly random and often contrary suggested scenarios.  He quickly ran up the aisle to where myself and a colleague were observing and eyeballing me, a few inches from my face, said ‘watch this’.  With a particularly emotive suggestion the sound of authentic and hysterical wailing women and men started filling the room. He turned to us and winked. I felt the goose bumps and immediately saw the potential of a reality show on the drawing board. I thought this guy is an ultimate trip master.

Peter Kalos image © Kerrie Pacholli

Some say the mark of a true creative is to have the ability to inspire others. Peter is a true creative.

“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” Act-II, Scene-VII of the play As You Like It by William Shakespeare.  Never truer words.

So tonight we had a similar scenario going on but in a different studio setting with the same dedication and iron clad resolve from the 20 plus students. Eyes shut, in the zone. I started doing what I do, which is welding the camera, spying on others doing what they do.  I’m watching these individuals being guided to other dimensions. All the time Peter was fuelling this collective flight with his seemingly irresistible words.  The allure got the better of me and I put the camera down and joined the multiverse. We were even guided to the moon at one point.

What is fuelling this incredible communion? I am not entirely sure but tonight Peter shared some very interesting stories about his personal experiences with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio as a cameraman during the auditions for Gilbert Grape in LA, and what he witnessed on the set between Robert de Niro and Sharon Stone during the filming of Casino. Gripping and tantalising stories which are seemingly never ending.

Peter Kalos knows his business, every which way and is gifted with an insatiable ability to share it with his students.  All are welcome to come along to experience the extraordinary world of Method Acting.

For more information &  bookings ; Understand the Method workshop

UNRESOLVED by Sonia Serin album launch

For a number of years, I’ve known Sonia Serin personally to be warm and soulful. Professionally as a resounding singer / songwriter/ musician and composer.

It was an absolute privilege to be part of her gathering to celebrate her latest album launch of UNRESOLVED in a live performance at Bakehouse Studios in Richmond earlier this month.

Sonia Serin @ Kerrie Pacholli__2097

Sonia Serin

Over her professional life, Sonia Serin has had the opportunity of performing with an impressive list of musicians.

From her early days of playing at the Fret Festival [Brisbane]. Sonia has supported Pete Murray, Diana Anaid, Hyske, Gorgonzolla; and shared the stages with artists Nikolaine and Nathanael Martin, Matt Nelson, John Langham, Steve Morrison, Robert Michael Kay (London) and The Mason Rack band. She has previously performed at Woodford Folk Festival, Camden Calling (UK) Kirra Music Festival and the Gold Coast Folk festivals. In addition to this Sonia has previously headlined many venues throughout her time living in the, UK/London: The Ronnie Scott Bar, The Spice of Life, Camden Callings: The Enterprise, The Courtyard and The Stage Door.

Her new album UNRESOLVED was completed over two years exploring relationship cycles of beginnings, endings, and the sometimes sense of incompleteness that comes in between.

Sonia Serin, Tim Elliget bass, Chris Wright sax & James Rance drums image © Kerrie Pacholli

Sonia Serin, Tim Elliget bass, Chris Wright sax & James Rance drums

It is a seven-track album mixed by Rolling Stock Studios, Alexander Jackson, Andrew Robinson, and Lillith Lane; featuring the cellist Francesca Mountfort and second guitarist Oliver Paterson.
The final track ‘Unresolved’; is a memoir of honoring relationships ending prematurely and as she quotes in one of her songs ‘Sometimes no closure is the only closure we ever get’ and finding peace within this process.

Francesca Mountford @ Kerrie Pacholl_1954

Francesca Mountford

Launch night at Bakehouse saw Sonia’s live performances supported by musicians including Francesca Mountfort on Cello, Chris Wright on Sax, James Rance on drums, Tim Elliget on bass and backing vocals from Michelle Keely; collectively succeeding in delivering a poignant sense of beauty to a cycle of songs about acceptance of life’s mysteries and the gentle surfing of what the album calls ‘tidal waves’ of grief and relationships.

The multi-talented Sonia Serin is not only an accomplished singer/songwriter but is known as a ‘stellar guitarist, emotive piano player and a bit of a technical whiz behind the drum kit’.

Great night and great album.

 Click here to purchase UNRESOLVED

BORN-AGAIN BLAKFELLA: UNCLE JACK CHARLES

By Roberto Chuter

One of the most frightening scenes in Fred Schepisi’s 1978 film adaptation of Thomas Keneally novel “The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith” is sodomy and murder of blackfella Harry Edwards. This character was played by a young and talented aboriginal actor named Jack Charles.

I came across Jack Charles again while researching Jack Hibberd’s play “Dimboola” for the anniversary season to be produced at La Mama Theatre. This was a film again, but vastly different in tone and character. An even younger Jack Charles appears playing the energetic (and mainly drunk) Mutton in the Pram Factory’s 1973 film “Dimboola: The Stage Play”.

They say that good things come in threes, well this was certainly the case in 2014 when in front of a live audience I interviewed award-winning filmmaker Amiel Courtin-Wilson whose intimate documentary “Bastardy” (2008) chronicled the life of Jack Charles over seven years. The film’s tagline boasted – ‘Addict. Homosexual. Cat burglar. Actor. Aboriginal.’ Really, there was no need to boast, the film itself stands alone – although its starts fairly heavy handed. But what follows is provocative, funny and profoundly moving. He was now Uncle Jack Charles.

“If I hide anything it wouldn’t be a true depiction,” says Uncle Jack, as he plunges a needle of heroin into his vein. Simon Foster, the SBS Reviewer wrote: “The most significant achievement of “Bastardy” is its confidence to allow the viewer scope to interpret its intentions. As a portrait of a damaged man, ravaged by substance abuse and poorly exploiting the natural gifts bestowed upon him, the film is insightful, personal and candid; more broadly, Courtin-Wilson invites the viewer to see his film as a commentary – society’s shameful disdain for the homeless, Australia’s disregard for its fallen artists, the inexplicable invisibility – to all but those that know him – of an old man junkie. “Bastardy” never demands you consider these themes, but it trusts you will.”

“I sleep in the ladies toilet because it smells nicer, ” says Uncle Jack smiling. How can you not watch a doco about this roguish actor and thief? I was intrigued, curious and wanted to know more about Uncle Jack and so I did. He was born on 05 September 1943. One of the many victims of the Government’s forced “assimilation programme” (called the ‘Stolen Generation’) which forcibly took him from his Bunurong mother when he was only a few months old. He was raised in the Salvation Army Boys’ Home in Box Hill, the only Indigenous child, where he suffered sexual abuse and was told he was an orphan.

Uncle Jack has always been searching, trying to find out who he was. The isolation and loneliness that he experienced over those years had a devastating impact on Uncle Jack that endured long after he found his stolen identity. A few years ago after reconnecting with his Aboriginal roots he discovered who is father was, and that he is a Wiradjuri man, a Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Yorta Yorta.

In December 2014, after much difficulty trying to find Uncle Jack, I eventually invited him to be interviewed at Chapel Off Chapel along with another guest rock musician, singer/songwriter Dave Graney. Uncle Jack warmly accepted and it was an absolute hoot, the live audience were enamoured. Acknowledged as the ‘grandfather of Aboriginal theatre’ in Australia, Uncle Jack co-founded the first Aboriginal Theatre Company – ‘Nindethana’ in 1972. His acting career spans over six decades appearing in numerous films and TV series including “Rake”, “Rosehaven”, “Wolf Creek”, “Mystery Road”, “The Gods of Wheat Street”, “Woodley”, “Women of the Sun”, “Rush” and “Ben Hall”. Not to mention the many plays and talks to boot.

In 2009, Uncle Jack was awarded the prestigious Tudawali Award at the Message Sticks Festival, honouring his lifetime contribution to Indigenous media. He was also the recipient of a Green Room Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and in 2016 was named Victorian Senior Australian of the Year and more recently he received the Red Ochre Award. Not bad for a former drug addict and petty criminal with a lot of prison time up his sleeve!.

Fast forward to late 2019 and I am in St. Kilda Library flipping through the pages of a book about 9/11 when a flyer is thrusted at me by one of the librarians. Uncle Jack again. This time it was the book launch of his autobiography “Born Again Blakfella” (written with Namila Benson) at the library. So I rock up in the evening to hear him speak to a packed room. I didn’t want to miss it – none of his magic had dissipated and at 74 years he was still alert, warmly political and entertaining as always. After an affectionate embrace and a brief exchange with this pint-sized dynamo, I left smiling, his signed book in my hand.

Uncle Jack Charles is one of the nations most respected and enduring personalities, a strong role model for a new generation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. And thank goodness.

AfterMATH: ASH WEDNESDAY

By Roberto Chuter

Its was in October 2014, I recall, at band promoter Dolores San Miguel’s book launch upstairs in Melbourne’s Athenaeum Library on Collins Street when I noticed a male figure completely clad in all black. He was grasping a beautiful wooden and brass-headed walking stick. Perched on a chair at the end of some stacked library shelves with his friend the artist Emily Humphries who was sitting on the arm of the chair close to him. It was almost a romantic, period image bathed in a golden haze.  Their position looked like something out of a Regency masterpiece. I was enamoured with a splash of curiosity. This was my first introduction to the founding member of the Australian punk rock band JAB and pioneer of synthpop. In the late seventies and the start of the 80s, Wednesday eagerly produced a host of highly creative and affecting music. The famous writing technique of the Beat novelist/drug addict William S. Burroughs’ “cut up technique” inspired Wednesday who played around with tape manipulation and synthesiser experimentation.

Flashback to Adelaide in 1976 Wednesday met the UK born former punk rock singer/songwriter and guitarist, Bohdan Roman Kubiakowski better known as Bodhan X busking in an Adelaide mall. Wednesday enquired about what he was doing with the music. “I’m going to be a superstar. People are just like sheep, they will follow.,” Bodham replied. Wednesday was most impressed and suggested forming some sort of band together.

So, in August, the both of them and Janis Friedenfelds also known as Johnny Crash (later of post punk band “Sacred Cowboys” fame) as drummer and vocalist, they relocated to Melbourne renaming themselves “JAB” formed out of their first initials Apparently, their first show was at St. Kilda’s legendary Seaview Ballroom (Crystal Ballroom) – the first ever gig played at the venue. With Bodham left, the band morphed into the short lived rock band ‘Models’ with singer, guitarist and songwriter Sean Kelly joining the lineup.

Wednesday, was a respected musician who became famous for his distinct versions of Uriah Heap’s “July Morning” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Over the intervening years, he continued to experiment with music and live performance, releasing occasional singles and then spending 1992 in Germany playing with the flamboyant actress/singer best known for her theatrical vocals – Nina Hagen. Wednesday also pre-produced and programmed her 1995 album, “Bee Happy”.

1997 saw Wednesday included as a touring member, completing several worldwide tours with avant-garde/experimental band Einstürzende Neubauten and on many other recordings from their 2004 “Perpetuum Mobile” Tour”. He returned to Australia in 2013, settling in Melbourne continuing his working with many other bands.

In 2013 he was to perform his brilliant solo performance “The Ash Wednesday Effect”, a spontaneously performed audio-visual experience, in which improvised soundscapes triggered entrancing visualisation, which were in turn projected onto the physical form of Wednesday himself. The performances at North Melbourne’s Club Voltaire were continuous three hour compositions, throughout which audiences were free to come and leave as they wished.

This year, after battling a debilitating illness, Wednesday returned with a performance entitled “AfterMATH” which was three new striking and unique works combining electronics with the famous Melbourne Town Hall Organ. The audiences responses ranged from “spooky” to “evocative”, from “majestic” to “spectacular”.

I have managed to catch up with Wednesday numerous times over recent years – sometimes at a soiree, or a launch or the impromptu visit to him. Recently, I was curious about Wednesday’s life and himself, and so I fed my curiosity eagerly and asked:

What did you do before you became a composer/musician?

Listened to a great deal of music. Radio and records. I grew up with the British beat of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Small Faces, etc. I fell asleep with a transistor radio under my pillow. A little later I discovered the white man blues, the electric sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Bluesbreakers for example. I was able to trace this thread to Delta and Chicago blues and discovered the essence of contemporary American music in the process.

How did you become a composer/musician?

It was inevitable that I was going to play. Bass guitar looked easy because it only had 4 strings (lol). I had a few lessons which were awkward and unproductive. Learning to read music bored me. I wanted to play not study. An ‘undergroundʼ tutor showed me how to play a 12 bar blues and I was in! I could work out everything from there. I played a lot to records and then with longhaired friends. Practiced scales for countless hours. Became dexterous with the instrument. Taught myself what I needed to know AS I needed to know it. Oh yeah, I had dropped out of school by this time. The stage was set… I later dislodged convention further when I ‘gave upʼ being a musician as such and began experimenting with a reel to reel tape recorder and whatever stage sounds I could conjure up, through whatever means. An analog synthesizer was in the pipeline.

Why do you do the work that you do?

Because Iʼm being true to myself. I have lived in a timeframe where I could find a way around convention. A luxury of sorts. Retrospectively one that I was obliged to pursue.

Which people or what inspires you to work in music?

Some of the people that I have worked with have been an inspiration to me. Initially my dear and departed friend Johnny Crash (the J in the ‘punkʼ group JAB). Apart from being a tremendous drummer, he possessed a synthesiser before I did. He would delight in turning it up really LOUD and creating the wildest sounds youʼve ever heard while laughing his head off. We had so much fun together. Hours and hours of it.

On another tack completely, the individual members of Einstuerzende Neubauten are intriguing characters. The sum of the components (the group) is greater than that of the individual constituents of course. Just being in a rehearsal room with those guys was a privileged experience. Not all of the time, but some of the time an artist or particularly a group of artists are able to produce a form of unique, reciprocal magic with an audience. One which is uplifting for all concerned. This is why we do it I believe, having experienced this ‘entrainmentʼ from both sides.

You have suffered a number of personal setbacks. Do you think these are explored subconsciously in your work?

Not so much. I have enjoyed playing an improvised solo or two with my left hand rather than my right. Naivety in motion.

What do you think have been some of the negatives in your work?

Hmmm…. Models breakup. Apart from that maybe chopping and changing too much for people to follow.

Whatʼs been some of the positives in your work do you think?

Both of the above! Oh no really I would say staying true to ‘a path with a heartʼ. I have always possessed instinctive, unquestionable self-belief.

Whatʼs been your favourite achievements up to this point?

1991: Commercial radio being forced to play Crashlandʼs Boom Boom, a demonic reworking of a John Lee Hooker standard. Released on Regular Records, it was recorded at Sing Sing studio for a sum total of $100 and was way outside standardised quality control for ‘thoseʼ sorts of radio stations. The kids just loved it and voted into the ʼTop Eight at Eightʼ. Kiss No. 1 Crashland No. 2 Aerosmith No.3 ha! 2004: Playing a concert in the former headquarters of the GDR in Berlin with Neubauten. By that stage it was a huge cavernous structure. Two floors of concrete and iron with a 10 second reverb time. Best to listen outside as the building itself became the instrument that we were playing

What are you currently working on?

Having fun with a diminished sense of responsibility.

If you couldnʼt do this anymore, what career path do you think you would have followed Ash?

Thatʼs hard to say. It is only retrospectively that I see a career path. I didnʼt think in those terms.Okay getting back to Boom Boom in 1991. I awoke in a pitch-black room. Through no fault of my own it happened to be my birthday. All I could hear was the radio.The announcer on 3RRR was phone interviewing John Lee Hooker – the man himself. He must have been close on 90 years old. At one point in the interview the announcer proclaimed something like “local band Crashland have been high on our playlist for the past year or so with their reworking of one of your tunes, Boom Boom.” And then she naively asked: “Have you heard it?” JLH of course had no idea whatsoever what she was talking about…. more than a few moments silence… and then he stumbled on the sentence: “‘Err… I wish them all the best!” So… I had awoken from a dream into the real world, where before I had a chance to think the legend was wishing me all the best on my birthday. Ha!

Ash Wednesday is still wonderfully creative and prolific. A ground-breaking pioneer, an icon of Aussie music and an accomplished musician that is as inspirational as ever. We are most lucky to enjoy his unique talents.

 

BIG Sculpture @ Veg Out opening

2nd November – 2 December

by Open Media

There was a whole lot a BIG smiles and BIG love flowing at the official opening of the inaugural BIG Sculpture @ Veg Out competition on the 10 November 2019.

Co-curators’ Adrian Spurr, Mariella Del Conte and Rob Taylor and their team of volunteers have worked for the last eight months scrupulously tending to every detail and polishing every leaf at the magnificent Veg Out gardens in the lead up to this most presitigious art happening.

Curator Adrian Spurr © Pation Pics_1554

Co-curator and MC Adrian Spurr

Co-curators Rob Taylor and Mariella Del Conte © Pation Pics_1491

Co-curators’ Rob Taylor and Mariella Del Conte

There were 40 entrants bidding for a position with 19 of Melbourne’s finest sculptors’ works selected, currently on display and available for purchase.

Local dignitaries in the Honorable Martin Foley Minister for Creative Industries, Judith Jackson (Aunty Jacko), Port Phillip Mayor Dick Gross, Counsellor Andrew Bond along with the three Judges in Max Delany Artistic director and CEO of Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Cameron Macindoe from Fundere Fine Art Foundry and the Espy’s Matt Mullins joined forces to select, announce and present the prize pool to the winners.

Judith Jackson 'Aunty Jacko' © Pation Pics_1524

Judith Jackson ‘Aunty Jacko’ with Welcome to Country.

The Grand ‘BIG Sculpture @ Veg Out’ prize of $5,000 was awarded to Mark Stoner for his 2019 stone piece ‘Geolife-1’ .

Mark Stoner & Martin Foley © Pation Pics_1621

Grand BIG Sculpture winner Mark Stoner & Martin Foley

Grand BIG Sculpture winner Mark Stoner with Martin Foley & Max Delany © Pation Pics_1625

Grand BIG Sculpture winner Mark Stoner with Martin Foley & Max Delany

The Fundere Fine Art Foundry award of $2,500 went to Salvatori Lolicato for his 2019 ceramic piece ‘Metamorphosis’.

Cameron Macindoe & Salvatori Lolicato © Pation Pics_1638

Cameron Macindoe awarding Salvatori Lolicato.

The Espy prize of $2,000 was awarded to Craig MacDonald for his 2017 piece ‘She Spins’.

Matt Mullins & Helen Addison-Smith © Pation Pics_1660

Matt Mullins and Helen Addison-Smith accepting on behalf of Craig MacDonald.

Coming Through – Irinushka at the Butterfly Club

Review by Marian Webb

Irina Kuzminsky is a phenomenon, extraordinarily gifted in dance, music and language.  Coming Through, her one-woman performance, is a synthesis of those gifts and a continues the unfoldment of a favoured theme, the Dark Goddess.  Poetry, song and elements of classical ballet combine to form multi-dimensional hymns.

Irina – or Irinushka as she is known on stage – as a classical artist in the sense that she has perfected classical forms that come to us from the nineteenth century and beyond, to the likes of Leonora Orsini (1560-1634).  So many riches build a highly stylized drama, that at times relaxes into a refreshing naturalism, as when Irinushka puts on her pointe shoes, taking time to tie the glossy ribbons.  Performer participates in the narrative, the plot of which is to give fresh form to centuries-old traditions of vocal, physical and literary expression.

Coming Through is out-of-the-ordinary performance art and runs until Saturday 26 October at the Butterfly Club.