Greg Mullins – Climate Council

Dear Kerrie,

My name is Greg. I’m a former Commissioner of Fire & Rescue NSW, and I recently joined the team as a Climate Councillor. I’ve worked for 47 years fighting fires both as a volunteer and as a full-time firefighter, and I’ve personally seen the horrific impact that fires can have on communities, not just in NSW, but interstate and overseas.

In recent years, I’ve seen first-hand how increasingly catastrophic extreme weather is putting lives, properties and livelihoods at risk – and in many cases, overwhelming our emergency services.

Today, 22 of my former colleagues, all senior fire and emergency service leaders from across Australia who have also seen these changes, have joined me to take a stand. Together, we are united in calling for urgent action to curb climate change.

These leaders are men and women who have been on the frontline of some of the worst threats and extreme weather events our nation has seen, from raging bushfires to devastating floods and cyclones.

All of us have experienced how climate change is intensifying the impacts of extreme weather events. We have seen our emergency services becoming more and more overwhelmed, as they struggle to cope with intensifying extreme weather driven by climate change. Emergency services simply don’t have the resources or capacity to adapt to this changing threat, particularly as many face continual budget restrictions.

That is why, today, we are uniting as a new group, Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, to make an important statement.

We are stepping up because we have a duty to protect Australians and to share what we know.

But Kerrie, we need your help. Will you chip in to amplify the voices of these former Emergency Services Leaders who are calling for climate action?

We know that there are many groups already active. So it’s fair to ask, why create another group. Emergency responders are on the frontline of climate change and are confronted disproportionately with its impacts. With our skills, knowledge, and connections, we are well placed to talk about both the impacts and solutions to climate change, specifically in relation to bushfires, storms, and floods.

Already this morning, we have been out in the media making our objectives clear, speaking on prime time television and publishing our joint statement in The Age Newspaper. And this is just the beginning.

Today Show segment and statement in The Age

We’ve come up with a hard-hitting plan to speak to the heads and hearts of those in power and to the Australian public, by:

  • Calling for the Prime Minister to meet with a delegation and allow us to present to the relevant Ministerial Council, and to the Australia / NZ Emergency Management Committee on the need for adequate resourcing, emergency planning, and policy change.
  • Calling on the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments to properly resource urban and rural fire services, the SES, and forestry and national parks firefighting arms. To reduce hazards, mitigate fire threats, and respond with every available tool, including large firefighting aircraft that are increasingly unavailable to us because the Northern Hemisphere faces a similar escalating bushfire threat. Another crucial tool is ongoing research into bushfire and natural hazards and what we can do differently to protect life, property and the environment.
  • Getting out in the media talking about the need to rapidly and deeply reduce greenhouse gas pollution to start addressing the worsening impacts of climate change.
  • Hosting a summit for emergency leaders to discuss new ways forward.

Can you chip in to help power the voices of the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action? Your support will help spread our crucial message far and wide.

The signatories to this statement are no strangers to facing danger and making difficult decisions. These are people who have shown moral fortitude, strength of character and courage throughout their esteemed careers. They are all strong leaders, with the ability to look at the bigger picture, and to take decisive action.

They decided to form this group to push for decisive leadership and big-picture thinking from our politicians, who must make rapid, crucial decisions to tackle the escalating climate crisis.

Thank you for your support of the Climate Council and its vital work. To learn more about the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, sign up via the website.

Greg Mullins AO, AFSM
Climate Councillor
Former Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW, former President of the Australasian Fire & Emergency Service Authorities’ Council.

Arj Barker Opening Night – The Athenaeum Theatre

Review and images by Kerrie Pacholli 

Arj Barker MICF 2019 at The Athenaeum Theatre

Arj Barker MICF 2019 at The Athenaeum Theatre

Not only did I get the opportunity to experience  Arj Barker’s ‘We Need To Talk’ show live at the beautiful Athenaeum Theatre on his Opening Night. I also get the honour of writing this review. Wow I say. This was the very first time in my life that I got to enjoy the very talented Mr Arj Barker.

One of our other very talented writers, who specifically requested to review Arj Barker because Arj, is his favourite comedian in the whole world, happened to arrive just after half time, due to unforeseen and extreme circumstances.

Arj Barker MICF 2019 at The Athenaeum Theatre

Arj Barker MICF 2019 at The Athenaeum Theatre

Opening night can often be a pain for not only the international artists, who could presumably be suffering a little jet lag; but when the show starts at 7pm, in Melbourne, on a Friday night, it can be a real challenge for the audience to not only arrive on time but also relax into it.

I’m pretty sure Arj, a stalwart professional and a working Comedian since he left school in 1989 picked up on these challenging set of circumstances.

Arj Barker MICF 2019 © PationPics_5149

Arj Barker MICF 2019 at The Athenaeum Theatre

Regardless, he did not miss a beat with his delivery of detailed comedic story telling in unison with animated body language. I’m telling you, it was a hard arsed Melbourne audience full of fans that wanted blood, his blood and by god he delivered.

Arj Barker MICF 2019 at The Athenaeum Theatre

Arj Barker MICF 2019 at The Athenaeum Theatre

My job was to capture the images. The man moved so consistently fast it was pretty hard to get the clarity that I so much want in a pic. Yet they say a picture says a thousand words so feel free to read the longer version of this review.  The best picture of Arj Barler was taken by Arj, after the show, at his merchandise table, in the back alley on my iPhone, which for some reason decided to incorporate a 10 second delay. So, by that stage I looked like an embarrassed, recoiling version of myself. He was very patient and generous and even thanked me for giving him my business card…

Arj Barker MICF 2019 at The Athenaeum Theatre ©

Arj Barker MICF 2019 at The Athenaeum Theatre with myself.

Aliya Kanani at Coopers Inn MICF 2019

Review by Tommy Langra

It was late the night before when my editor, Kerrie Pacholli asked if I could take two tickets and write a short review for Aliya Kanani show at Coopers Inn which is part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2019. As I am never one to turn down tickets to a free show, I happily said yes. Without any knowledge of who i may be seeing, or what may be involved, i approached the show with no small amount of trepidation, worried that the title ‘So where are you from, from?’ may leave me in a lurch about some deep political ‘comedy’.

Aliya Kanani performing at Coopers Inn as part of MICF 2019

Arriving at the Coopers Inn didn’t inspire an overt amount of hope, as after work city people crowded the blue stone sports bar which had on its main screen the American baseball, which, if nothing else, let everyone know they were in for something a bit different.

Aliya, however, was exuberant and… well… funny. A fresh view on the world through – what she termed – a feminine, slightly narcissistic, chronic liar’s interpretation which left scope for a large amount of audience interaction. Those from the passenger seating that volunteered.

The show covers everything from high school to travels in Indonesia, touching on the importance of spirituality for some local tribal members, yet doesn’t avert from some important message of the interconnectedness of people, no matter their race or creed. Aliya stated after the show that she was “concerned with the value of the question of where we are from, instead of asking ‘who’ we are?”

This coupled with the message in the show of rising above challenges, through the use of comedy, and a spare dose of secondary trauma.

Yet don’t despair if you think this sounds like too much material from foreign escapades, exotic places, and the one time Brazilian Aliya, she quite seamlessly approaches the local climate and context of Melbourne itself, and the value of learning Australian as a second language (in her case, seventh).

An important part of the show and something not to overlook is the improvisation of audience participation, an excellent display of Aliya’s capacity to think quickly on her feet, proving her capacity to talk herself out of any situation… leaving us smiling as she does so.

Aliya Kanani at Coopers Inn, 282 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

‘UgLeigh’ at The Alex Theatre St Kilda

Reviewed by Baroness Madeleine von Hohenfels

Alex Theatre, St Kilda
Doors Open: 7.30pm
Act One: 8.00pm
Approx. Finish Time: 9.10pm

PERFORMANCE DATESWed 10th, Thurs. 11th, Fri 12th Sat.13th & Sunday 14th April.

Tickets: Adults $36.85, Concession $34.40.  Artist Passes welcome

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2019 has tapped into our Australian larakin laughter mechanism once again, by that I am referring to Australian’s ability to laugh at themselves.

Nicolette Nespeca & Maia Absburg © PationPics_5205 copy

Nicolette Nespeca & Maia Absburg

And for those of you who love a little theatre with their laughs then look no further, as the production of UgLeigh at The Alex Theatre (Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda) is sure to shock and entertain you.

UgLeigh is a humorous and confronting look at the added pressures we all contend with in current life; brought about by the seemingly never ending technology allowing us to change ourselves physically to suit the fashion of the day, to be enhanced, and more appealing to ourselves, and our perception of what other’s may want to see in us – at least on the outside.

Ben Lindsay & Maia Absburg © PationPics_5222 copy

Ben Lindsay & Maia Absburg

UgLeigh sets a good pace from the outset and, for the most part, continues this throughout the production with laughter attained within the first few lines.

The ensemble cast deliver Charlotte Watson and Shamita Sivabalan collaborative work ‘UgLeigh’; not only did these two capable women write UgLeigh, they also produced and directed its’ production.

Ben Lindsay & Maia Absburg © PationPics_5228 copy

Ben Lindsay & Maia Absburg

The lead actor, Maia Absberg’s portrayal of the ugly duckling ‘Leigh’ was passionate; humorous; confronting; and believable, right down to genuine tears, snot, and dribble. And Ben Lindsay, Nikki Nespeca, and Andrew Burns all delivered hilariously and animated characters husband, boss and surgeon of Beauty respectively.

This multimedia production of clever design, wit and craft is minimalist and punchy and performed to a Full-House at The Alex Theatre last night, which was the opening night for UgLeigh.

Andrew Burns © PationPics_5175 copy

Andrew Burns

I recommend you get in quickly for this production as there are only four nights left of it’s run ( Thu. 11th April through to Sun. 14th April ) at The Alex Theatre, St. Kilda, where this production takes bold strides on the intimate stage at 8:00pm .

UgLeigh is akin to ‘Selfies and Botox meets The Rocky Horror Show’…

The Alex Theatre, 135 Fitroy Street, St. Kilda is easily accessed by the Light Rail and Trams, with ample parking at the primary school car park and surrounds.

Images by Kerrie Pacholli © Pation Pics

Stephen K Amos – Athenaeum Theatre – MICF 2019

Review and images © Kerrie Pacholli

I was again privileged to be part of a very appreciative audience for the fabulous Stephen K Amos at one of my favourite venues The Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne. Stephen is back in Melbourne, of course, as part of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2019 or MICF 2019 which I prefer to scribe.

Stephen K Amos MICF 2019 Athenaeum Theatre © PationPics

Stephen K Amos MICF 2019 Athenaeum Theatre

Let’s face it, this man has charisma and stage presence that the Queen would envy.

From what I heard, he travels the world, communicating with audiences from many, many countries and cultures. I suppose the Queen does too…Yet, this man is truly funny. Just thinking about him on stage makes me laugh as I am writing this, this review.

Clearly, he has well oiled jokes up his sleeves for comfort, but the man comes across mostly as spontaneous.

Stephen K Amos MICF 2019 Athenaeum Theatre © PationPics

Stephen K Amos MICF 2019 Athenaeum Theatre 

Engaging with the energy of the audience, particularly probing a few special targets in the first rows. Nothing better in this world than natural quick wit and spontaneity. Except perhaps, very large sums of money to compensate for the lack there of.

Stephen is an artist, a true artist who shares his life’s stories on stage with us. Transforming soul wrenching experiences into bare able positives through humour and generosity. I was so chuffed to get a selfie with the man himself, in the alley, on the way out of the theatre, where he and this friends collected donations for palliative care organisations, inspired by his own family experiences.

It was a true pleasure to experience this man doing his thing. I predict a Knighthood in the not to distant future. But then I do carry on like an over intuitive oracle at times.

It makes all this hard work of creating a MICF 2019 Open Media Review Feature all the more worthwhile. And a special thanks to generosity of Alexis Lalios from Hatching Communications and artist manager  Mary Tobin

Stephen K Amos & Kerrie Pacholli 2019 MICF

Stephen K Amos & Kerrie Pacholli 2019 MICF

Akmal Salem performing The Palms at Crown

Review by JC Harvey for Open Media

Before yet another sell-out crowd, Akmal Saleh delivers quality entertainment with his own unique brand of ridicule, imitation and criticism.

Akmal Saleh performed at The Palms at Crown, during MICF 2019

With sarcastic wit wrapped in an annoying mock-bogan twang, Akmal’s show for this year’s festival revolves around identity and the irony of belonging, pointing out with humour and mockery the tribalism which plagues us all.

From petrol heads and politicians to surfer dudes, paranoid conspiracy theorists to violent alcoholic miners itching for vegan blood, Saleh spares none the whip.

His subtly extreme style attempts to reveal to the audience that the choices we make become the characters we are, and that clan mentality has become ridiculous in its quirky, cliquey divisiveness.

We all enjoy a good laugh at the stupid, crazy stuff people do, and Akmal shows he is just as stupid and judgemental as the best of them, with self-deprecating tales of bad judgement and missed opportunities.

With a career spanning decades, Akmal Saleh knows his audience and he can work the crowd. His excessive, zany bogan-bashing style has kept him off the dole since at least 2002.

His style has strength in considered, well rehearsed observational humour, tall tales, and practiced interactions with the front rows, but, as with his years on radio, improvisation can leave him grasping at straws.

Whether you are a fan or a critic, Akmal Saleh will not just make you laugh, he will give you pause to consider the role you’ve chosen to play, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll finally understand that you are a minority of one. Just like the rest of us.

The Full Irish at Kicks

Review by Charlotte Watson

Alan McElroy was an exuberant host and first act, tempting audience members to the front row by way of Skittles.

He was charming and energetic but it seemed as though there was more audience interaction than material.

The second act, Ian Coppinger had some great gags and played heavily on his physical appearance. He had some very well crafted jokes and he engaged the audience well with his storytelling skills. Both comics were easy to watch and the sing-song quality of the Irish accent certainly helped too.

The microphone was tinny throughout the performance and the turn around before the next show had the audience feeling rushed out of the room. It would have been great to see more Irish comics in a Full Irish performance but overall it was a fun, high energy show.

3 stars.

FULL IRISH AT KICKS

UgLeigh – Alex Theatre – MICF 2019

Crowded Together Productions proudly presents this hilarious, offbeat, absurdist comedy inspired play by Marius von Mayenburg’s ‘The Ugly One’. for MICF 2019.

Alex Theatre, St Kilda
Doors Open: 7.30pm
Act One: 8.00pm
Approx. Finish Time: 9.10pm

PERFORMANCE DATESWed 10th, Thurs. 11th, Fri 12th Sat.13th & Sunday 14th April.

Tickets: Adults $36.85, Concession $34.40.  Artist Passes welcome

In a world where botox, implants and Instagram filters reign supreme, Leigh, finds out she’s a … not-so-aesthetically pleasing woman. In other words, she was hit with the ugly stick. several times. But Leigh is determined to get ahead no matter what the cost.

Shamita Siva (Co-director/Producer/Writer).  Shamita is a multifaceted performance artist and creative. Comfortable on stage or on screen, Shamita is a performer who enjoys a challenge. A trained dancer from an early age, she has performed professionally overseas as well as nationally. She developed an interest in physical theatre forms and has trained in Butoh alongside her acting. She holds a BA Performing Arts from Monash University, supplemented by training with Film & Television Studios International, Stella Adler AoA Los Angeles, and the Meisner Technique. Shamita is also a keen writer and often incorporates spoken word into her pieces and performances. She draws inspiration from everyday experiences, music and sound, and socio- political issues she is impassioned by.

Charlotte Rose Watson (Co-director/Producer/Writer): Charlotte caught the acting bug in high school and continued with private acting lessons before completing a Bachelor of Performance at University of Wollongong. After moving from Sydney, her first Melbourne theatre debut was performing in the 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival in the production ‘Altar Girl’. This is where Sham and Charlotte met. Charlotte has recently undertaken the Producer Bootcamp mentored by Laura Milke Garner to expand her theatre-making and theatre producing skill set. She has a passion for producing and writing plays – especially comedy! She previously worked as a talent agent representing Melbourne actors and coaching acting classes. She now proudly works at the Alex Theatre where she is their theatre programmer and the executive assistant to the general manager.

Cast:

Andrew Burns, a whiz bang trivia host and actor who plays the famous surgeon Dr. David Wazinski.

Maia Absburg an incredibly powerful actor and physical theatre performer, plays on our heart strings as Leigh.

Ben Lindsay, a tradie by day, dynamite actor by night, Ben plays the well-meaning yet oblivious Hank- Leighs husband.

Nicolette Nespeca; who’s comic timing is brilliant in the roles Leigh’s boss Lucille and #Insta-Famous Yogini.

Contact: crowdedtogetherproductions@gmail.com

Event Page: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019/shows/ugleigh

Website: https://www.crowdedtogetherproductions.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ugleigh_micf

Macnamara Candidate’s Forum on climate change & energy

Open Media is proud to be supporting and filming this very important event.  Stay posted for filmed footage and story to come from the night.

St Kilda Town Hall – Wed 3rd April, 7 to 9pm- Free Event – All welcome

This Wednesday evening, from 7pm – 9pm, the candidates for the three major parties will participate in this live, public forum on climate change and energy. 

The forum is of interest because:
– You can hear directly from each candidate as they discuss their views on the most critical issue of the day; climate change
– The larger the crowd the more the candidates will see that climate change is a very weighty issue for voters
– It’s your opportunity to ask any candidate your question about their climate change and energy policies
– Climate change policy has a direct impact on the health of our waterways, beaches and the bay.

Three subject matter experts will also speak and provide their views on what needs to be done about climate change and energy.  This should give the candidates plenty to discuss on the night! The speakers are; Fiona Armstrong from the Climate and Health Alliance, Simon Holmes a Court from Energy Transition Hub and Eloisa Moses-McMahon from Albert Park College (student).

See full details of the forum here: https://forum.org.au/

 

CoWork Me – artist, business people and entrepreneurs finding common ground

The night was full of positive energy that vibrated through the whole place, setting the scene for an unforgettable experience for the many people that attended. Apart from being well catered for by local suppliers, the forum was introduced and closed with a superb didgeridoo performance by Stan Yarramunua.

Stan Yarramunua at CoWork Me function image © Simon Barnett

Stan Yarramunua at CoWork Me 

Christopher Mulcahy from Enabir moderated this free event, a resident of CoWork Me.

Three artists and entrepreneurs; actress Tottie Goldsmith, artist and author Stan Yarramunua (Yarra) and tech entrepreneur Blake McIntyre were special guests who shared their stories and insights of their achievements.

CoWork Me image by Simon Barnett Open Media

CoWork Me image by Simon Barnett Open Media

Chris believes that the journey of an artist and an entrepreneur has many things in common and one of them is the fact that it’s often a very lonely road. Coming together and supporting each other at an event such as this is incredibly invaluable.

Chris said, “Courage is something that is the first step in being your own person and to do what everyone here tonight does. Being an artists and entrepreneur and to be true to that courage and remain committed to that courage is sometimes a difficult thing. I would just implore everyone that if they ever felt that courage was weakening reach out to someone here tonight or someone who is like minded, because they all deserve it in droves because what they are doing is amazing.”

Totti Goldsmith

Tottie Goldsmith’s father was a nightclub entrepreneur and had several wives so she came from a large family and they lived in a big house.

In her words, wives coming and going, children being born, shit going down, new clubs opening … it was nuts, it was beautiful, it was breaking bread and drinking wine and sharing stories and life.

“I’ve had so many knockbacks I can’t tell you, and it’s ok because not everything is meant to be. Just keep your clarity in what you want but with flexibility,” said Tottie.  

“I think with flexibility you can move and grow as you’re going along. Keep witnessing what’s going on around you and where your strengths are, because I think as we grow, we are still exploring ourselves.”  

Stan Yarramunua came from the streets of St Kilda, his father was a Frenchman and worked with the Brother Circus as a lion tamer and temporary boxer and his mother was aboriginal.

Growing up he mixed with a lot of men and women who didn’t have a lot. He didn’t want to go hungry, so when an opportunity came up as a kid, whether it was real or not, Stan went and got what he needed to eat. One day he picked up a paintbrush and never looked back.

“Yes it was a struggle, but I don’t look at it as a struggle. I look at it about growing … there’s no pain, there’s no gain and that’s what life is about, there’s a bit of pain in it, but that’s what it is. That means your living, and it’s the spirit of my ancestors that I believe are up there and they choose certain people to be role models, to be out there as examples on the good part of our culture,” said Stan.

Blake McIntyre

Blake McIntyre is a videographer and was filming a social entrepreneurship competition when he ended up at the Branson Centre in South Africa filming a journey of the winner of the competition that happened to be Christopher Mulcahy. While on the job, Blake learnt a lot about being an entrepreneur and has since embraced what he has learnt in his new business. His business is now worth around the eight-figure mark. He developed Pospay a system for restaurants and also used by casinos.

“If you don’t try it, you’ll always regret not having a go, take into account whether it’s viable, and if there is even the slightest chance that you could actually pull it off, go for it,” said Blake. “It’s a roller coaster, every business is. You have really good highs … and then there will be crashes … after a while you just learn to level out and stay in a plateau … don’t get too emotional.”  

The evening was a networking success, invaluable conversations were had and the final after party at the Espy was a delight, enjoyed by everyone who attended and can be summarised by the following comments. 

Michelle Cain said, “It was amazing, all the speakers were very individual … very inspiring.”

Isobell Vescovi from Just Graze Melbourne said, Yeah, I’d definitely come again, it was a great night. I’m just sort of starting out and it was really inspiring to hear the speakers … and what inspires them to keep going when things get tough.”

“It was really good to see this at a local level … and all these people in the room together so it was great to hear their [celebrity guests] experience,” said Ciara Walsh.

Tottie summarized by saying, “Have an idea but be processed driven and keep [the thing], trust your gut.” “Some people don’t like you, that’s ok, it’s not an ego game, and not everyone is going to love us. We’re not here to be loved by everybody, we’re here to live our truth.

“As Ford said, if you think you can or you think you can’t, you right. Trust your gut! We are all dreamers and don’t let anyone take that away from you.”  

by Simon Barnett