Category Archives: News and Events

News and Events from Pation Pics

ROBOBOP: ROBERT SCHOLTEN

By ROBERTO CHUTER

“Love is a many splendored thing, until it’s not… in which case it just plain sucks. Whether we fall out of love, experience unrequited love, or lose the love of our life, heartbreak is a pretty universal feeling for most people. I personally love a little heartache, but I do believe that there’s something to be said for what a little heart-wrenching despair can do for the creative mind. I’m not alone in this sentiment. Whether reeling from the discovery of an unfaithful husband, like Frida Kahlo, or capturing the death of a beloved wife on canvas, like Claude Monet, many artists have experienced their greatest artworks after love has been lost.”

This quote made me reflect on an interview I did with artist Robert Scholten (aka Robobop) in front of a live audience at Chapel Off Chapel back in 2014. Scholten had his artwork projected on a large screen and spoke eloquently about his relationship between his art and his marriage breakdown. It was certainly a memorable interview. The packed audience were entranced, moved by Scholten’s tender and creative voice. Audiences talked about the interview for weeks later.

I first met Scholten fleetingly at “Collective Momentum” exhibition at the Carlisle Street ArtSpace in St. Kilda. The first thing that I noticed was this huge smile, white teeth like something out of a toothpaste ad and this shock of black spiky hair. He was surrounded by a crowd of women all vying for his attention, which I am sure thrilled him. Some where along the way we became good friends working on a few projects together – some successful and some not successful.

I was most curious about this prolific artist’s life and career, so I asked:

What did you do before you became an artist?

I’m not sure there was ever a “before,” but here goes. Growing up, I was always known as the shy kid in the corner who’s good at drawing. My job was to fill the other boys school organisers with drawings of sexy women to get them through maths class. After high school, I did a year of biotechnology but was deeply unhappy – and totally obsessed with making art and devouring every art book in the library! With the encouragement of my worldly interior design student and girlfriend at the time, I left to study art and become a real artist. After declaring my ambition to the world, arguing with my family and friends, I was rejected from every art school. It really sucked. So I found myself studying Information Systems instead, which led to technology being a big part of my practice. After that, I decided to go and live in Japan. I was lucky enough to paint theatre backdrops and murals there. Japan really opened my eyes to art, in the sense that I felt art can be everywhere, not just in galleries. I returned to Melbourne, studied graphic design and worked in that field for a while. After a tough period where my marriage broke up and I lost my job, I found myself doing art full time ever since. However, I always felt I was an artist, it’s more like, so it’s hard to say “before”, as I always created art, rented studios.

How did you become an artist?

I like to joke that I’ve tried everything I could to not be an artist. In the end, I just gave up and accepted my fate. There’s an element of truth there. One of the earliest times where I really felt connection as an artist, it was on Hirado, a small Japanese island near Nagasaki. All I had was a sketchbook, markers, ink and cheap book of Van Gogh drawings. For weeks I wandered around the island drawing.

Why do you do the work that you do?

I don’t know how to answer this question. There is no real why, just do. It feels right and it feels good so I do it. I suspect if you’d ask a child the same question, they’d have the same answer. Maybe I remained a child in that sense. If anything, my goal is to be as authentic as possible – this also means knowing and accepting yourself, which is a lifelong journey.

Which people or what inspires you to work in the arts? Your work seems to span all kinds of mediums – film, painting, installation, can you tell us about these different mediums and why you chose to do this?

Art is something I just really love doing. Even the boring parts. From this passion comes a desire to create, improve and learn. So I look a lot. Inspiration is hard to pinpoint as it comes from so many different sources, changing on a regular basis. I love art history, from all across the world and across time. I like organic surfaces with a feeling of time ravaging it. I like nature. I guess the short answer is anything could be inspiring at any given time. Growing up, I didn’t come from an artistic family so a lot of my art exposure came from pop culture and self study in libraries. I met some artists growing up, which provided inspiration and guidance. My friend asked me the other day why I do many different mediums and I joked that I’m a hustler! In the sense that to make money and survive as an artist, I do many different types of jobs. But the flip side of that is that I enjoy the challenge of working in different media. It’s just fun. It keeps you fresh, as I think it’s dangerous to be too comfortable – you risk repetition. Also, today’s world makes it easier for artists to cross between different mediums as there are less barriers – better tech, cheaper equipment and accessible knowledge.

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

I feel like all our experiences shape us, and as an artist these will definitely come through. Uninvited or not and especially subconsciously. Our individuality will always come through including sadness and despair. But overall I’ve been quite lucky. My setbacks are relatively minor to other people I know and I’ve been able to turn them around into positives. If anything, they’ve made me stronger and gave me greater persistence!

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

My philosophy has always been to keep working. I can look back and connect the dots later. The best thing I can do in my work is to be as honest as possible, which is quite hard to do! Positives and negatives are momentary perceptions, subject to change. Especially from my brain. Some of the things in my work that I hated before, I love now for the reason that I hated them!

What’s been your favourite achievements up to this point?

I don’t really have massive achievements but I’ve been fortunate to work with different communities of people and have a positive impact on them. I’m grateful to do art everyday and I always try to improve. I just take it day by day, though it’s nice to look back at various projects.

What are you currently working on?

I have a few different projects on at the moment – Murals (one involves a peacock, one involved Poseidon, and another involves a girl drinking coffee, Spice Girls magazine illustration, Children’s book illustration, painting and decorating a Dr Seuss city with a primary school, paintings for an upcoming exhibition, corporate art workshop, Illustrations for a printer company, planning some etching prints for an upcoming residency in Chiang Mai and short animation and some short film docos.

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

I don’t know the exact career but I feel like I would like to do something that has a positive effect with people and culture, like helping with poorer communities for needs like education. Or in a completely different direction, maybe a detective, because I like solving puzzles and thinking about peoples’ personal stories and motivations. I would also rather work for myself.

Tell us a funny story or joke that involves your work or life.

One time I had a coffee meeting with a guy I once did a job for. He wanted to discuss a new project. I went to the cafe and sat down with him. He seemed a bit grumpy that day, so I tried to make small talk. He didn’t talk much, so I ordered a coffee and played a bit with his dog and waited for him to finish his breakfast. After 40, 45 minutes, it got awkward – it was supposed to be a work meeting, after all. So I decided to push the subject of the work, and he gave me a blank look. Didn’t know what I was talking about. That’s when I realised. I was supposed to be in the cafe two doors down! I quickly apologised, paid for my coffee and exited with a red face.

Check out Scholten (Robobop)’s amazingly diverse work at: www.robertscholtenartist.com

DEMOLITION DERBY

By ROBERTO CHUTER

As a follow up to my last article, “Threatening A House With A History“, there have been some fearful updates not to mention a potential demolition derby. The developer Nick McKimm’s representative recently requested an adjournment at VCAT to represent amendments for the development of 1-5 Tiuna Grove, Elwood into a monolith of 19 apartments. So, apparently to stay within the guidelines of No. 3 and No. 5’s interim heritage overlay the new plans are to be presented at VCAT later this year.

The plans are as equally horrible as the previous ones. Perhaps worse. The development proposes retaining the facades and the front two rooms of each house demolishing the rest and replacing with smaller footprint double storey additions. There is then a massive building which wraps around the two properties on the left and rear. “This monstrosity has no relationship to the surrounding environment. May as well stick a skyscraper in!” wrote a Tiuna Grove resident and St. Kilda artist Josie Wadelton stated “These Heritage sites must be preserved at all costs.” “Elwood needs to be able to breathe – there is no air left with over-population of apartments and too little regard of local residents. The scale of development utterly inappropriate to neighbourhood,” stated another local.

Now, you would expect that VCAT, the City of Port Phillip and the developers, knowing that there are now 2,300 (and climbing) signatures on the petition against this development, surely there is a realisation that the residents and the wider community do not want this development in their community. Why aren’t they listening? The residents and the community , I repeat, do not want this disaster to occur in their community. It’s a pretty clear message.

“As a resident of Elwood, just a few streets from this development, I’m gobsmacked that such a monolithic, monstrous building that lacks any empathy for neighbourhood character and impact on its surrounding residents, buildings and streets would even be considered…” stated another longtime local with a firm passion.

Is it just all about developers’ profit and greed? If so, haven’t they stuffed their wallets enough already in Elwood. So many beautiful and unique dwellings vanishing virtually overnight.

And what about the historical and cultural significance of these properties, in particular No. 3? Facades will suffice? Really? I think not. Aesthetically, these two beautiful homes are excellent examples of post First World War in the bungalow’s style and are of great value to the Heritage of Elwood and the greater City of Port Phillip and for future generations. Minor changes have occurred to both of these two homes but these are relatively small and reversible, and have not impacted upon their importance and significance whatsoever.

“‘Heritage’ is what you end up with AFTER you save anything that is historic and that is building, streets-cape and trees.” wrote an objectioner.

In particular, the destruction of the rest of the No. 3 dwelling conflicts with the Heritage requirements surely? The former dining room, has always been known as ‘The Red Room” since the early 20s, it has been painted over white during the intervening years but was faithfully restored to its original colour in the mid-90s under the then lessee, well-known playwright Julia Britton. It has now recently been repainted over again (yes, in white), most likely to make it more conservative and/or more saleable to buyers by recent owners. This precious room has nurtured, created and played host to many historical and cultural events over the last hundred years. Too numerous to mention. From discussions about the current political scene, war, to art and painting, to theatre, to filmmaking and radio, to poetry and was a room that magically inspired and bore many famous stage plays, films, music and art throughout the 90s and 00s. It became a legendary room amongst the Melbourne artistic community. Designed beautifully by the architects Richardson & Wood in c. 1912 (dates vary to 1917) in a mock Tudor style highlighted with wooden beams and stunning panelling, this room needs to be preserved.

At the exterior, ajoing The Red Room’s large bay window, it features an authentic verandah in which the famous artist Mirka Mora and Britton once sat together, one afternoon, in blue deck chairs, nibbling green grapes and sipping from small bottles of soda water. Many years later the legendary La Mama Theatre staged an extraordinary open air theatre production entitled “The Murderer’s Barbeque” in the rear garden of No. 3 for the Elwood residents and the general public to see. And did they see. The seven performances were entirely packed out – even during a thunderstorm and downpour one particular evening. The production garnered a number of award nominations for its actor and its genesis at No. 3. This authentic, untouched Australian back garden/yard, its ancient Canary Palm tree and verandah is proposed to be ravaged, the old tree relocated.

Locals JT of Elwood said “The destruction of both these valuable houses must be should be totally protected. What is the Port Phillip council doing?” Karen Boyle added “The minute the neighbours see demolition vehicles approaching put the word out… there will be many happy to protest with a chain, padlock and a muesli bar to keep us going as long as it takes!” and lastly Sonny Day remarked “(A) beautiful house. If all else fails we chain ourselves to the front.”

The final hearing for this inappropriate development is scheduled at VCAT for 7 days from 2-10 December. Please have your say and help rescue part of our precious and vanishing heritage. It is simple to object but it is urgent, so go to the link below and submit. Hopefully, future generations can stroll down Tiuna Grove, past these two wonderful properties and say: “Thank God, they saved these beautiful homes”. We do need to save Elwood for over development, especially in one of Elwood’s most historical streets, Tiuna Grove.

Opening night at Hola Melbourne Festival

Artist / producer Victor Holder

Hola Melbourne Festival of Latin American Culture and Ideas 2019 has been created by two extraordinary  producer / artists in Victor and Pedro Holder from 4Diverse Arts Hub in St Kilda.

This is a new generation of a Latin American festival – two full weeks of interactive events where you can enjoy, learn, create, and be immersed in art, music, literature, film, and ideas.

Opening night delivered an incredible laser light show produced by Victor Holder. This spectacular projection show utilising the latest digital technology illuminated our natural environment from our ancient indigenous roots onto the iconic 122-year-old  ‘Toromeo’ Ficus platypoda or desert fig tree  located in front of St Kilda Town Hall.

Hola Melbourne Festival is a tapestry of diverse collaborations offering people from all walks of life and all ages a taste of South American culture and ideas.

For more details:

Hola Melbourne

3 – 29 September

DRAMATIC TENACITY: RICHARD ASPEL

By Roberto Chuter

 

“If you’re an actor, even a successful one, you’re still waiting for the phone to ring.”

“My friends call me Pim!” is the line I always remember actor Richard Aspel delivering as Isadora Duncan’s sycophant friend in the elaborate stage production of “Isadora”. I can still hear his voice in my memory even today. Aspel’s voice is unique. His acting talent is highly accomplished and with the combination of both of these gifts Aspel’s career has covered virtually every aspect of the arts industry from docos, films, radio plays, stage, corporate, radio and TV advertisements to the French President and talking emus.

He has also recorded hundreds of audio books, winning several Audie awards. ‘Audiofiles’ review of “Can’t Buy Me Love” – a history of the Beatles, quoted: “Aspel’s splendid narration of the many lyrics pulls the listener back to the time of their creation with his almost crooning intonation”. Aspel laughs: “Everyone in Australia thinks I sound English, and everyone in England thinks I sound Australian!”.

The ubiquitous St. Kilda based actor, originally from England where he studied at the respected Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in South London has since built up a great respect from his peers together with a sturdy resume of work that is incomparable. Just some of his stage and screen work includes: “Entertaining Mr. Sloane”, “The Lion In Winter”, “La Dispute”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Playing Rock Hudson”, “Doctor Blakes Mysteries”, “The Mystery of a Hansom Cab”, “Howzat Kerry Packer’s War”, “Something in the Air”, “The Silver Brumby” and “In Too Deep”. And of course ,poorguy, he has done the usual actor’s rounds: “Neighbours”, “BlueHeelers” and all the rest.

I had so much I wanted to ask Aspel about his life and career and so, over a fine wine or two, I did:

How did you come to live here Richard?

I was born here. Well, no I wasn’t but I’d heard there were great pizzas. In truth, my parents had divorced in 1961 back in London leaving my mother, Dian, single with two young boys. She rather hastily married an older man who was a television writer on a show called: “The Adventures of The Seaspray” being filmed in Fiji. So, at the tender age of 6 [my brother Greg was 7] we ended up on the Fijian islands for 6 months which was great fun for two young lads . When filming ended we moved across to Australia where my mother’s husband had a house between Geelong and Torquay. I don’t remember much except not being able to understand a word anyone said and being mocked for not being able to swim. And thinking a thong was something you wore around your groin. Anyway, the marriage didn’t work and after a few months we’re back in olde London. Fast forward a few years – my mother meets another Englishman who is migrating to Australia for work and voila – off we head again for the month long boat trip to the land of OZ.

What did you do before you became an actor?

Climbed Mount Everest and broke the world land speed record. Which of course I didn’t do but the answer is nothing much really as acting was pretty well my first (and only?) profession. I did get suspended from school a few times though which I’m quite proud of but never managed to get expelled sadly.

How did you become an actor (or thespian as some describe)?

By a great stroke of misfortune. I took a gap year before going to university to study Law/Arts and spent the time traveling through England and Europe. During that time I stayed a great deal with my real father Michael Aspel OBE who was – and still is – a well known radio presenter and TV host on programs such as “Crackerjack”, “Aspel and Company” and “Antiques Roadshow”, etc. Through him I came into contact with some very colourful theatre characters and the seeds of a different life were sown. So I return to Australia to study and fall in love with student theatre. I think it was forlorn love for a gorgeous girl that got me into my first play. Anyway, I took to it like a bull in a china shop, dropped out of law and barely completed my arts degree as all my time was taken up with theatre. A couple of years later I went back to England to study drama at a theatre school and voila! I was suddenly unemployable and devoted to a lifetime of poverty.

Why do you do the work that you do?

What work? I’m an actor? Well, by the nature of the beast most actors have had to do a range of other shitty jobs through their careers just to live which only highlights the joy of acting. Why do I do it? Let me think. Because it’s the only thing that truly makes me feel alive. Really alive. Apart from The Ashes, a bottle (or bottles) of fine wine and a beautiful girl- but not necessarily in that order. There is something about acting that takes you to another place – you inhabit a different world – you escape the mundane and boring. What different world’s actors get to inhabit and what characters you get to play! It’s not always easy, far from it – fearlessness is essential, sometimes it can be emotionally wrenching but it sets you free. Not to mention the wonderful and extraordinary people you get to work with – but I won’t mention them. I do it because I simply couldn’t imagine ever doing anything else – apart from a well paid job. Me? A bank teller or public servant? I think not.

Your work seems to span all kinds of mediums – film, theatre, radio, Richard, can you tell us about these different mediums and why you chose to do this?.

And let’s not forget over 100+ audio books. Ah, the grand old days of radio plays – they were so much fun and you rubbed shoulders with old timers who still spoke like they had a rod up their arse. Well, they may well have. Mine not to ask. But they were fun – sadly now a thing of the past. I’ve always felt that my aim was to conquer nothing but to be mediocre in a host of fields. But really, as a pretty young actor in my day, if you weren’t snapped up by the soapies – the only way to survive was to be a jack of all trades. Every real actor’s love is the theatre but who’s going to say no to a juicy film or telly role? And voice work has quite frankly kept me from starving – my personal favourite, recording soft porn for the American audio market! That and recording telephone messages which is very exciting. But, to survive as an actor in Australia – you really must cast a wide net. And not throw back the little catch.

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

Ooh, that’s a juicy one. Can I take the 5 minutes? Well, everyone has copped a bit (or a lot) in this life. I had a particularly bad run of losing my only brother, my closest pal, to cancer at the age of 30, my mother (she was a naughy and fun girl) following soon afterwards to a broken heart- smoking had nothing to do with it – and suffering my own bad marriage break up. But I was never sited to marriage really. I missed my mates at the pub. And yet strangely losing my beloved 19 year old Jack Russell Cleo was as hard as anything, heartbreaking – the love that asks no questions. But do I channel it? I don’t think you can help but channel it. Everybody is defined by their experiences and emotions regardless of their profession. I certainly don’t believe you have to starve in a garret to be an artist – hell, I’ve done that often enough. But you simply can’t argue with the fact that emotional experiences , whilst sometimes terribly depressing can only add to the tapestry of self that you have to call on. Doesn’t mean you know thyself – doesn’t make you a happier person but it’s in the register and filed away. As to negatives in my work – where do I begin? Poverty, depression, drinking, rejection, missing out on a great role when you’re down to the final two – nothing is worse than that. Not even haemorrhoids. Long periods of unemployment – doubting yourself, questioning your raison d’etre. Feeling as miserable as shit. But, the next good gig returns you to the land of the angels. Are you listening my agent?

What have been some of the great things in your work? Other than a fine wine and/or a beautiful woman?

None. Okay, meeting some beautiful women. All night cast parties… Next question please. I think for me it’s all about personal changes. I was a bit of a jock at school – captain of the rugby team, destined to study law and end up a boring fart. I’m still a boring fart but not a well paid lawyer fart. But enrichment and meeting people and opening one’s mind. I remember back in the late 80s doing a BBC series of “The Lenny Henry Show” as one of the few white cast members. Set in a pirate radio station – great fun. I’d kind of grown up in London but had no idea at all of “Black London”. I became good pals with (stand-up comedian, actor, singer) Lenny but more so with his offsider actor Vas Blackwood. They showed me a black London I’d never seen- let alone knew existed. And I was richer for that. So I guess the people I’ve met and the emotional journey of discovery. Mind you, along that path there are a lot of utter… twats.

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

Well, I guess I was lucky meeting so many “ famous “ people through Michael, my dad and therefore have never had much of a hero worship thing. I remember watching “Heat” (the first film Pacino and De Niro had ever appeared in together} and debating who won the acting accolades. Who did I go for? I went Pacino – he went De Niro. He was wrong. But inspiration? I’m more inspired by writers than actors for example. I mean I don’t even like Meryl Streep (who does?). And Daniel Day Lewis is as mad as a hatter but a genius – I loved Katie Hepburn and Hitchcock deserved an Oscar and Kubrick deserved his. But inspired? There are so many..

What have been your favourite achievements to date?

Quite frankly staying alive. But I do have to include 26 weeks spent on a Greek Island over 2 years shooting a children’s adventure series. Maybe it wasn’t great and I certainly wasn’t but what a job, what fun and what a beautiful French girl. Mind you I’ll never share a house with the camera department again. Nor ride my motorbike off a cliff the day we arrived. But such things make life worthwhile. Going back a couple of years ago to the very wonderful “The Death of Peter Pan” at the Universal Theatre. To this day I do not believe I’ve worked with a more talented cast or been prouder of a production – beautifully cinematic vignettes and heart searing performances – all under the guiding hand of a visionary director. And, strangely enough a performance as Alan Strang in the wonderful “Equus” when just a lad. But I’m old now – sooo old!

What are you currently working on?

Well, quite frankly that’s just rude! You never ask an actor that question. To be honest a piece in progress called: “ Watching My Belly Fluff Grow”. It’s bound to be a hit without a doubt. Sigh – things are quiet – the life of an actor. I’ve guest cameoed in a couple of great new feature films: “Lilith” and “A Beautiful Request”, and I’m also sporadically shooting a web series spoof on Sherlock Holmes. It’s very funny. I play Dr. Watson, of course, and quite frankly I am simply delightful. Some would say even wondrous… some. Apart from that just generally annoy people.

If you hadn’t become an actor what path would you have followed?

Well, definitely a straighter and narrower one and one paved with gold. There was a time I considered law – barristers they say are just frustrated actors or vice-versa. True. But I have yet to meet a lawyer from my youth who has not become a pompous prick. I’ve managed that without being a lawyer. Journalism was second though, but I doubt I have the intellectual rigueur, although with some clever wit perhaps… I did think of becoming a school teacher (teaching drama?) as I love kids – but the older I get steamed and not fried. Or a radio announcer which I did for a year in my youth and was paid to annoy people. That’s pretty perfect. But no regrets, no tears – goodbye, I am who and what I am and so be it. Acting is my thing. Okay – a lawyer. Or maybe a connoisseur chicken pie maker…

Tell us a funny story or a joke that involves your work or life?

Many years ago when I was young and attractive – yes it’s true – at least the young part and still playing soccer ( I prefer to call it football) I was also recording an animation series. Both were on Saturday. But timing was tight so I’d rush straight to the recording studio still in my shorts and top and plastered in buckets of sweat. One of my characters was Baby Wombat – yes, it’s true- whose scenes were mainly with Papa Wombat. So we would squeeze into this tiny, tiny studio to record – me smelling like a piece of ripe gorgonzola. And Papa Wombat was an older and very gay actor. Hard to record when your armpits are being constantly sniffed with little grunts of delight. Such is the world of theatre. How many tales could I tell – such as taking the voluptuous blonde and rather thick Polish table top dancer to an awards night for audio books and, in the middle of an important speech she says at the top of her voice: “Why is the fat man so boring?’’ We didn’t have a second date. Such is my tale. Don’t put your daughter on the stage but It’s been fun though many arduous journeys. Take a bow, God bless and goodnight – you’ve been a fabulous audience. Now back to belly fluff gazing.

I left Aspel sitting on a bar stool staring into his empty glass and wondered what he was thinking about walking home. But there was one thing I really thought about – Richard Aspel is a St. Kilda original, a St. Kilda personality – witty, talented, clever, annoying, drunken, loveable but most of all a man of deep humanity, of warmth, of generosity and when the chips are down, with no end in sight, Aspel just knows it – guess who materialises in front of your eyes? In your front door? Aspel with his consoling company, his homemade chicken pies and some fine wine in both hands.

Little Haha Art Series; Pop Up Show

Opening night Thursday 5th September at 6pm 

Artwork on display daily from 7am until the 12th September

99 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.

 

by Kerrie Pacholli

What a delight it is for me to electronically immortalise a piece of the exuberant creative cosmic mix at Little Haha’s Art Series; Pop Up Show last Thursday night.

What was once Fitzroy Street St Kilda’s Post Office, later to evolve into the mysteries Cushion nightspot, watering hole to 19 & 20 something year olds for 10 or so years;  has now morphed into a warm, welcoming, ageless and genderless artistic hot spot in the heart of St Kilda.

Great space, great bar and GREAT COFFEE. Well done Mr Barrista and all the participants invited by host and owner Anthony….

Curated by locally based street artist the Iconic Mikey XX1, this inspiring Pop Up Show introduced me to a group of talented artists and all round nice people in Fred Leone, Silly Sully, Anomie and Lucks.

Lucks

Lucks

Mikey XX1

Mikey XX1

Mikey XX1

Mikey XX1

Fred Leone

Fred Leone

Anomie

Anomie

Anomie

Anomie

Silly Sully

Silly Sully

Silly Sully

Silly Sully

A HOUSE WITH A HISTORY

By ROBERTO CHUTER

There are many houses with histories. But this particular house has more than most. Located in one of Elwood’s most historical streets, Tiuna Grove, No. 3 does not possess a heritage overlay to save it from destruction by profiteering developers. Why? No one knows why, including the City of Port Phillip. Mayor Dick Gross, admitted that it seems that it was a mistake not to include these properties in the heritage overlay in the first place. What are the Port Phillip Heritage Review doing? In 2009, Tiuna Grove and Elwood residents battled for months to save the house from demolition because developers attempted to remove the original 100 year old covenant that was in place. Fortunately, the residents and the community were successful.

Built in 1912 on land owned by Liet. Col. Harry McLeod Duigan formerly of the Australian Imperial Forces (with a distinguished military career and noted athlete), the house is legendary for its historical and cultural significance. The beautiful dwelling is a rare example of a Federation home which retains virtually all of its original interior fittings and red brick structure. In particular is the famous ‘The Red Room’ (original dining room) which still boasts of its stunning floor to high ceiling Tudor-style timber panelling and leadlight bay windows. Many artistic and lively events have taken place in ‘The Red Room’.

Flashing back to 1921, the then owner allowed Leslie Taylor, known as Squizzy Taylor, to hide out in the back room of the house after fleeing, disguised as a school boy in a Scotch College uniform, from 60-66 Glenhuntly Road, Elwood. In 1923, Chas. Miller and Edgar Clarke sold No. 3 for 2950 pounds to a large attendance and bidding was spirited. Liet. John (Jack) Frank and his wife Frances lived at No. 3 in 1944, Sadly, on 22nd June, Jack was killed.

The house became a share house in the 1980s then in 1994, the famous Australian playwright, Julia Britton, then aged 89, leased the property. Britton wrote 14 or more of her successful plays in the house, many of the produced nationally and internationally.

From 1994-2016, No. 3 became a much talked about cultural hub under Britton’s tenancy. Fifteen play and screenplay readings were read and presented in ‘The Red Room’ with many personalities of the time involved along with endless rehearsals for acclaimed and award-winning stage productions such as “The Death of Peter Pan”, “The Object of Desire”, “Half A Person” and “Homme Fatale.”

In 2001, the famous La Mama Theatre in Carlton staged an open-air season of “The Murderer’s Barbeque” for the Port Phillip community in the back garden of the property. The production was nominated for some awards and local residents packed out the performances to capacity. No. 3 was on a roll when a number of feature and short films were filmed in the house and the gardens. These included the internationally acclaimed “The Dream Children” (also penned by Britton), “Come Said The Boy”, the horror film “Swallow” and the Screen Australia documentary entitled: “Fearless” about the life of Britton also featuring the house. The documentary aired on ABC-TV, cable channels and worldwide networks. No. 3 welcomed many overseas visitors from Greece, England, the U.S. and Germany eager to meet Britton and visit the house.

No. 3 has also had a long association with the National Trust of Victoria’s properties such as Rippon Lea from 1990-2001, producing and creating site-specific performances from the front room of the house. These highly acclaimed productions included: “Loving Friends”, “The Great Gatsby”, “Anne of Green Gables” and the highly controversial adaptation of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover.” Manyfamousandinfamouspersonalitiesthathavelived,stayedorbeenassociatedwith No. 3 including: Mirka Mora (artist), Paul Cox (filmmaker), Clifford Frith (artist), John Clarke (TV Sat, Bryan Dawe, Jane Turner (actors), Nicholas Denton (actor), Barry Lowe (playwright), Heather Ellyard (artist), Andrew Domink (filmmaker), Manu Bennett (actor), Graeme Squires (actor), Gerry Sont (actor), Wayne Groom (filmmaker), John Ruane (filmmaker), Maestro Richard Dival, Anthony Breslin (artist), Kate Llewellyn (novelist), Sarah Roberts (actress), Mark Lee (actor), John Muirhead (ABC-TV producer), Chris Young (musician), Sam Mallet (composer), Ronald Woodcock (violinist), Kerri Simpson (singer), Kevin Stanton (musician/composer, Paul O’Brien (actor), Albert Tucker (artist), Dr. Michael Kozminski, Dr. Lisa Dethridge, Dr. George Mucknicki, Simon Barley (sculptor), Jacqui Henshaw (photographer), Peter Leiss (photographer) and many, many more.

With the death of Britton in 2012 and after a large memorial and marquee in the back garden the house was auctioned off in 2016 in front of a massive amount of onlookers and potential

buyers. Surprisingly, prior to this auction the owner destroyed the 100+ year old gum tree (for no apparent reason) that stood in the right hand corner of the front garden homing much birdlife. How did Council allow this to happen? Residents were infuriated. The back garden also suffered some significant loss. Originally three large 100+ palm trees highlighted the garden, (apparently in honour of fallen soldiers) two vanished over time, and only one stands today, its existence now threatened.

At present the house (and the next door dwelling No. 5) is once again under threat by greedy developers seeking to consolidate the large properties and replace them with a single building of oppressive monolith consisting of 19 apartments. Fortunately, the Minister for Planning in the Victorian State Government has granted interim heritage protection for No. 3 and 5 as requested by the Port Phillip Council. This interim protection will last until the 30th June 2020 which gives Council time to put in place permanent heritage plans. Which is about time! The developers requested an adjournment of the VCAT hearing so necessary preparations could be made. VCAT (and we all know what VCAT is like) granted it. The final hearing is scheduled over 7 days from 2-10 of December.

The developers said the demolition of the properties will not proceed until the permit is in place. But on the morning of July 10, five or six workers arrived at the site and started digging up parts of the grove to disconnect gas lines to the properties preparing for demolition next month.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we showed up tomorrow and the bulldozers were here to knock it over,” stated one of the residents. Developer Mr. Nick McKimm expressed that the workers had disconnected the gas and power at the site as a safety precaution and was adamant the houses would not be demolished yet saying: “There will be absolutely nothing more done at the site until we have the proper permits.”

No. 3 Tiuna Grove, Elwood is an important and essential component to the City of Port Phillip’s historical and cultural identity and should be classified and preserved at all costs as a Heritage property. What heritage property does the City of Port Phillip possess that is crucial to the education and enjoyment for our children and future generations?

DESTINY OF A WARRIOR: ANTHONY BRESLIN

By Roberto Chuter 

“Painting is a metaphor for a person’s life…” – Anthony Breslin 

It’s middle 1991, I am working in a disused church in Gardenvale on the casting for the improvisational site specific production of “I’ve Danced With A Girl Who Danced With The Prince of Wales” in the ballroom at Rippon Lea. One Saturday or Sunday afternoon there was loud bashing on the side door of the church. This entrance was rarely used so I opened it with reluctance. As I opened the door, a young man fell inside. He was dressed in a light blue t-shirt, grubby grey gym pants, thongs and sported a slighting fuzzy mullet. This was my very first introduction to Anthony Breslin. Subsequently, he managed to charmingly ingratiate himself into the production and the next one “The Miracle of the Rose’. We have been friends and colleagues ever since. 

Artist Breslin, based in St. Kilda, has become an original force within the Australian art scene ever since then and has produced 60+ solo exhibitions both in Australia and internationally, including exhibitions in Barcelona, Bern, Dublin, Hong Kong, London Prague, Zurich and Shanghai. Breslin has also attained acclaim as an original theatrical and installation artist. He performed at the Melbourne Convention Centre for the closing ceremony of the Parliament of World Religions, as well as performing at the ‘Signature of M’ art prize gala night at the Central Pier Venue in Docklands and the Conscientia Festival in Salt Lake City, US. Breslin has created many large scale community and charity projects. He has become passionate about working with various marginalised groups and schools to induce focus and awareness on the importance of commonality, belonging, and rites of passage. 

So, there was some many questions and answers I wanted to ask Breslin, so I did: 

What did you do before you became an artist?

I pursued a career in acting and before that I worked in a conventional job in the rag trade which made me miserable!. I wrote a play during this time about a suicidal man living the wrong life, it was called “Clive potter: Poet!” I was writing of course about me stuck in a life that seemed impossible to escape. I searched for something else and opportunities arose that enabled me to see another path. I started by doing extra work and modelling and then I found ways to break into doing theatre where my life really changed. My interaction with the people I met and worked with inspired me to pursue a creative life. I worked in cafes and did labouring to keep money coming in. I didn’t enjoy these jobs so I searched for something else that was theatrical and different this brought me to doing singing telegrams which lead me to becoming a stripper. I worked in this field for several years and quickly I became the top performer in the company. I’d do 5~6 jobs all over Melbourne on a Saturday night. It gave me many fascinating life experiences and freed up my life to pursue other things. After a few years I left it all as I won a TV show called “Man O Man” on Channel 7 where the prize was a trip to Africa, ironically it was the place I most wanted to go to. I spent over 2 years wandering through Africa, Europe and the Middle East during this time I drew obsessively. My drawings were sent back to Australia in cardboard tubes. Thanks to my sister these drawings got me an interview for art school at RMIT. I flew home to try to get in, I did. 

How did you become an artist? 

I finished art school after 3 years yet during this time I worked ambitiously to exhibit in unconventional spaces, like Wax Studios in Richmond. I even managed to direct, produce and design a large production of my own play “Clive Potter: Poet!” Art history inspired me greatly, I fell in love with its history of philosophical ideas. When I left art school I was determined to make it my paying occupation against all odds. I experimented greatly and slowly through a religious work ethic I started to develop my own unique creative voice. Opportunities arose through the risks I took and before long I was exhibiting and selling lots of my work. I felt very self conscious calling myself an artist but once it became my “job” I had to as it was all I did. Through it I created an exciting lifestyle that started to take me all over the world exhibiting and doing theatrical performance pieces. This lasted for many many years until blood cancer came into my life and changed everything drastically again. 

Why do you do the work that you do Anthony? 

The work has always just come through me, my imagination has always been vivid, I just start, that’s the hardest part and then the work itself guides me. I just make sure I keep listening. I have never needed to use things from the natural world as a direct subject matter or for inspiration. Within a short time I became excited by found objects and began to incorporate them into my work everything from zippers to tennis rackets. They all helped me create tactile compositions that wanted to jump from the canvas. I made a lot of work constantly, experimental repetition led to many, many new discoveries, soon I was excitedly plagiarising and developing all my own ideas within the private world of my studio. I never experienced any mental blocks. My mind seemed forever active with ideas. I have always been very athletic so I began to create performances governed by time and physical constraints to raise the level of intensity and challenge for me as the performer and artist. The artist as athlete really interested me. Also I believed that I needed to make things difficult so I had something to overcome. This way of thinking was an affliction I carried always. I also wanted the audiences to experience some of the energetic drive of my creative, obsessive process. 

What inspires your work? 

I could always draw, so initially I was inspired to make art because it was the only thing that interested me at school and I seemed to be good at it. Over time I returned to it because I loved the process of creating in isolation. Acting gave me many wonderful experiences yet put me on the line to be judged directly. This process compounded my self doubt and insecurities regarding my acting abilities. With art it felt very different, here I worked safely in private investigating what lay within. People judged my creations and not me directly. Over time as my style developed I became less consumed with what people thought as I could only create my work in my own way, so it seemed pointless to become attached to others perceptions either way. This further liberated me to explore and take creative risks. The diversity of artists creations fascinated me and moved me greatly. I love the fact it’s a language beyond words, beyond reason, beyond one interpretation. I have been moved to tears many times standing in silence in front of art that spoke to me deeply. And that is a precious thing. 

Your artwork seems to span all kinds of mediums, can you tell us about these different mediums and why you chose to do this? 

My work spans the use of many mediums, paint, pencil, found objects, pastel, charcoal, ink etc., as well as performance and large scale installations built with all kinds of 

building materials. I never had any intention of restricting or limiting myself re materials or environments where I could create. So I ended up designing and building things like sets for music videos and theatre, winning an Aria Award along the way and earning an AFI nomination. All these experiences inspired me to keep broadening my creative horizons as I loved the challenge and it greatly inspired me to create my own performance art productions like “Trybe: An Opera in Paint”. My experiences using a broad range of materials also inspired more ideas and the further use of new materials. My paintings and drawings seem to still have a unifying style no matter what mediums I used. People were still able to recognise my work no matter what new materials I used it also kept me interested in producing and not stale. Inadvertently it kept people who collected my work interested and keen to purchase new works. 

Could you tell us about your Breslin Gallery? 

The Breslin Gallery was a dream I wanted to realise for a long time. I started a studio complex with an illegally built little theatre in St. Kilda many years ago. I was never one to let rules restrict me. When an old church came up for sale in Carnegie I became obsessed with trying to find a way to buy it. After much effort and negotiating I found a way to do it at a high risk for me. The building needed a complete build from the inside out which was going to put me into massive debt. I became the owner builder and under great stress managed the build working full time for 3 years doing labour on the site, from sunrise till nightfall. After many ups and downs I could see the finishing line, and then the implausible happened, somebody broke in during the night and set fire to the building causing around $380,000 worth of damage. The perpetrators were never caught. After an investigation the insurer found a reason to not pay for the damages, they assumed I would walk away because it was a powerful bank. This became a hugely stressful nightmare for me. I took the insurer to court which tested me mentally on every level, yet I was in a disastrous situation so I had to try something. After months and months in court and fundraisers to keep me afloat I was offered half the damage bill and I still had to pay a huge amount in legal fees. I took the payout I had to, I was desperate, wonderful support re fund raising and lots of cost cutting for the rebuild helped get the gallery open eventually. It was wonderful. I had a cafe in the place, a large gallery space, a place upstairs for me to live, a studio for me and a residence on the top floor. We held wonderful exhibitions, ran classes in all things creative, held concerts and supported 

marginalised groups and raised money for groups and individuals who needed it. The Breslin Gallery quickly became a much loved community creative hub. And then soon after blood cancer struck me down. I kept the place going through extreme sickness and long stints in hospital having and recovering from a bone marrow transplant and then kidney failure. At this point my cafe owner walked out of his lease and my neighbour began reporting the breaches of my restricted permit to council. I knew the stress was going to kill me to keep it running, so I did what I never imagined I would do, I sold the building under its value and walked away. My life has been under threat ever since from many serious health issues, which have destroyed my career. 

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

In 2014 I was diagnosed with leukaemia, the same leukaemia that killed my brother at 38 back in 1994. This turned my world upside down as it led to a bone marrow transplant, severe graft host disease and kidney failure amongst many other issues. To this day I still contend with chronic pain, disability and chronic fatigue and frequent bouts in hospital to help keep me here a bit longer. It goes without saying this has greatly affected my ability to work at all as well as the imagery its if both consciously and unconsciously. Going through so much life threatening illness has certainly altered all my perceptions of life, death and dying. Things that seemed so important when I was thriving and an ambitious creative, obsessive workaholic with illness became unimportant. Cancer or any life threatening disease forces one to investigate what’s deep inside and that’s its blessing. For me aspirations of commercial achievement, success and ambition faded away. When I lost my health I realised it was all that mattered next to connecting to other humans with my heart, through kindness, empathy and compassion

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

I don’t experience my work in negatives or positives. My impatience, and creative aggression along with my obsessive nature all have contributed to the creating of my work as it is, and as it was. Also my discipline and habit of pushing myself so hard allowed me to create a large volume of work and discoveries which in turn created 

opportunities and allowed me to build an audience. Yet it also greatly depleted my body and I believe helped lead to illness. My nature created my reality and hence the opportunities I had. I always would just dive into things taking risks always. In my case the risks hurt me yet also gave me my greatest achievements of all. It’s all intertwined and interlocked into a complex manifestation. 

What’s been your favourite achievements up to this point? 

I have had many wonderful moments, and so many exhibitions I have been proud of. All the different productions/incarnations of my show “Trybe” have meant so much to me. The first one was wonderful down at the Docklands, the second at Chapel Off Chapel. My performers and crews were wonderful to work with and both shows were so well received. In 2006, my week long stint in the Myer Bourke Street windows (with special guest Jane Badler) creating a live exhibition to raise money for sick kids at TLC was also such a special experience. There have been so many it’s so tough to single them out, they all built on each other to inspire me to try and attempt new things. 

What are you currently working on? 

On a book and it’s proving to be an epic emotional and physical challenge. It’s autobiographical stories from my life, I have felt strongly compelled to write this book for many years. In general through the stories it investigates how childhood trauma and abuse have fuelled many addictions in my life and fuelled so many of my misguided reckless pursuits. I am hoping for this to be my 3rd published book, yet regardless it is proving to be a healing journey in many ways. It’s very different from my first two books “frantic bloom” and “Brezania”. 

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

I don’t really know where I would have ended up if my art had not taken off. The jobs I did have created a misery in me and I struggled to work for other people in controlled environments, always my imagination transported me to other places and ideas. For many years I was lost in my life knowing only it all felt wrong. I knew how impossible it was to live on an actors wage yet my venture into exploring this as an occupation back in 

my 20’s is what opened up new possibilities in my life. Because these days I am finding my art making physically difficult due to my health I am writing more. I don’t expect it to be a career path on its own accord yet it’s all part of my career to date as a creative. Especially now I need to feel a sense of purpose and have a creative outlet to keep me from giving up on life. 

Tell us a funny story or joke that involves your work or life. 

I started doing singing telegrams and then stripping to support my acting career financially. At one point I was cast in a large outdoor production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” I needed to cram in what strip jobs I could when I wasn’t acting so I wouldn’t starve. On the Saturday night’s of the play’s season I’d do the curtain call and then dash backstage where the dresser would be waiting to help me get off my makeup and costume. I would then run to the car past many of the audience members and drive like a bat out of hell to the old Marquee Club in South Melbourne where approx. 250 drunk women would be waiting for the final stripper in their stage show. I’d bolt backstage, the show’s MC would have a small joint waiting to help me reboot. I’d put on my school boys uniform complete with thick nerd glasses, crazy wig and giant teddy bear and out I’d go to face the madness ending up stark naked. It was crazy to go from one form of performance to another within such a short time. Yet I loved the intense stimulation it provided. 

Breslin’s most recent exhibition “Exit the Blood Machine” contained 23+ artworks that portrayed his journey through cancer, transplant and beyond, a multitude of them contained images of bones, cells, death and many of which were created during his treatment, from his hospital bed. Some of these stunning and colourful artworks now hang in the Alfred Hospital. 

Undoubtedly, Anthony Breslin is another of St. Kilda’s most precious icons. He is blessed that creatively has been his amazing life. An artist of great bravery, generosity, sensuality, compassion and uniqueness. And all these qualities are the only few attributes that outweigh his gargantuan artistic ability. 

.

Fifty Words by Michael Weller – Review

LAB Theatre arrives at the Alex

Review by Marian Webb / photographs by Kerrie Pacholli

Daniel Schepisi and Katharine InnesDaniel Schepisi and Katharine Innes performing in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

FIFTY WORDS by American dramatist MICHAEL WELLER premiered Off Broadway in 2008. Now, Lab Theatre, under the masterful direction of PETER KALOS, has brought the two-hander to the Alex in St Kilda.

Talented stage and screen performers KATHARINE INNES and DANIEL SCHEPISI portray Jan and Adam, a couple whose marriage reaches crisis over the course of a night when their nine-year-old son Greg is away on a sleep-over. The actors have both trained under Kalos in the American ‘method’ tradition pioneered by Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York and brought home by Kalos after a 20-year sojourn in the US.

Daniel Schepisi & Katharine Innes performing in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Daniel Schepisi & Katharine Innes performing in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Method is highly suitable to cinematic acting as it allows actors to tap the depths of their own psychology to give naturalistic, nuanced expression to the characters they portray. This kind of cinematic realism was on display in the stag performance I witnessed on Thursday night (25 July). There was genuine intimacy between the actors, who performed much of the play’s first act facing each other in profile to the audience, a positioning which rendered audible projection of dialogue somewhat difficult without the aid of cinematic microphones. Added to this challenge, Lab Theatre has only recently taken up residence at the Alex, which boasts an auditorium presumably larger than the ‘black box’ in Brunswick where in 2017 Lab Theatre began. Levels improved after intermission, however, when dialogue was perfectly audible.

Daniel Schepisi & Katharine Innes performing in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Daniel Schepisi & Katharine Innes performing in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Katharine Innes gave an assured, high-key performance as the overworked, overwrought Jan, a ballerina turned mother-cum-data-analyst. Daniel Schepisi gave a truthful rendition of Adam, Jan’s loving husband bemused by her increasingly frantic outbursts. There was much to love in his performance, although layers of deceitfulness and cynicism in Adam’s character seemed alien to the promising young actor.

The set, credited to Lab Theatre producers DENNIS MANAHAN, SKYE YOUNG and NATALIA NESPECA, is extraordinary; it presents an entirely liveable apartment complete with functioning kitchen, tasteful dining room, windows backdropped with nocturnal cityscape, and a translucent upstairs bedroom. A projected digital clock indicates the passage of time through the all-night action of the play.

The play’s title – Fifty Words – refers to a wish voiced by Jan for as many words in English for love as there are Eskimo words for snow. This is a love story about a crisis in intimacy that besets a marriage suddenly released from the blanketing burden of child-rearing.

Lab Theatre is to be congratulated for a nuanced and engaging piece of stage craft. The company is a welcome addition to the artistic life of St Kilda and well-placed to become a magnetic centre of excellence.

WHERE:

Alex Theatre – Level 1, 135 Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda

WHEN:

Wednesday 24 July @ 8pm (Preview night)

Friday 26 July @ 8pm (Opening Night)

Saturday 27 July @ 8pm

Sunday 28 July 5pm

Thursday 1 August @ 8pm

Friday 2 August @ 8pm

Saturday 3 August @8pm (Closing night)

BOOK at TICKETEK

 

Daniel Schepsis & Katharine Innes in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Lab Theatre presents FIFTY WORDS by Michael Weller

LIMITED SEASON at the ALEX THEATRE – 135 FITZROY STREET, ST KILDA

Book at Ticketek

Daniel Schepsis & Katharine Innes in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Daniel Schepisi & Katharine Innes in Fifty Words by Michael Weller

Performance Dates – Fifty Words
Wednesday 24 July (Preview): 8PM
Thursday 25 July (Media &VIP)
Friday 26 July (Opening): 8PM
Saturday 27 July: 8PM
Sunday 28th of July: 5PM
Thursday 1st of August: 8PM
Friday 2nd of August: 8PM
Saturday 3rd of August (CLOSING NIGHT) 8PM

 

THE TELEGRAPH

“Psychologically compelling.”

TIME OUT  ****

Fifty Words, by playwright Michael Weller, produced by Lab Theatre is opening this week at the Alex Theatre in St Kilda.

This is a powerful play of love, anger and betrayal with two of the most promising Australian actors in Katharine Innes and Daniel Schepisi.

Directed by Peter Kalos, the story is about Adam and Jan who are finally alone together for the first time in almost 10 years. Without the buffer of their nine-year-old son (who is away at his first-ever sleepover) Adam’s attempt to seduce his wife before he leaves on business the next day begins a suspenseful nightlong roller-coaster ride of revelation, rancour, passion and humour that explores a modern-day marriage on the verge of either a breakup or deepening love…

This smoothly scripted multi-layered play reveals how closely love and hate can be linked in marriage; with each problem experienced as parents, another subsequent layer revealed shows yet another problem in their relationship. The play is an incisive close-up of the emotional battleground of contemporary relationships and the lengths to which a couple will go to save it.

“The play is a bruising back and forth of power games, recriminations, seemingly innocent putdowns and ugly confessions, but it’s the evidence of inextinguishable love and desire that makes this 21st century George and Martha fascinating.” – David Rooney, Variety

By Open Media Australia

 

Port Phillip EcoCentre Fundraiser with Keith Badger

EcoCentre team

EcoCentre team

I attended another special fundraising event at The Deck Brighton hosted by Port Phillip EcoCentre featuring author Keith Badger with an introduction to his book ‘Joining Loose Ends’.

At the age of 58, Keith Badger suddenly found himself with a dream and desire to leave behind his corporate job and return to his birthplace in England, and walk. It was a simple plan, to walk from one end of Britain to the other with his wife Debby. And yet as they traversed the country over 139 days and 2,801km, Keith and Debby found themselves confronting far greater challenges than the landscape and shocking weather.

Port Phillip Baykeeper on the effects of plastic  pollution in Port Phillip Bay

‘Joining Loose Ends’ at one level is an adventure story about a long walk that stretched a couple to their limits. However, in candidly sharing his life story and vulnerability, Keith reveals with great honesty how in walking and connecting to nature for the first time in his life, he found richness in the world beyond his former business and consumer lifestyle, eventually learning what it means to be human.

Keith is now an Iceberger, swimming in the Port Phillip Bay every morning. He is the long-standing Treasurer of the Port Phillip EcoCentre, a leading community-managed organisation with a dedicated team of scientists, educators and volunteers who design and implement innovative environmental programs, with expertise in Port Phillip Bay health and the urban ecology of Greater Melbourne, within the traditional lands and waters of the Kulin Nation. The EcoCentre’s vision is to create an empowered and engaged community actively cultivating long-term social and environmental well-being, and do this through a range of education, research, citizen science, public advocacy, and volunteering programs. 

If you are interested in getting involved by volunteering your time or  perhaps you would prefer to make a donation, please click this link  https://ecocentre.com for more details.

Students from Caulfield Grammar in Melbourne participating in rubbish collection activities with the EcoCentre at Elwood beach.