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. 

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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.

Beachside Stories **** Open Media review

Gasworks Arts Park and Melbourne Writers’ Theatre present

Beachside Stories – 13 – 22 June 2019

Review & images by Kerrie Pacholli for Open Media Australia

Rating

****

Selling out fast! Link to bookings : Beachside Stories

Dick Gross & Alex Gilbert image © PationPics

Dick Gross & Alec Gilbert

 

The ghost of Dick Gross (played by Dick Gross, Mayor, City of Port Phillip) shares the stage with actor Alec Gilbert who actually plays Dick Gross. Both Dick Grosses engage in a robust conversation about his life in public office, his fears of past failures, frustrations, love of family and his hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future.

Beachside Stories is described as a series of duologues  by Clare Mendes, Producer and Company Manager of Melbourne Writers Theatre; commissioned by Gasworks to create, write and produce this highly entertaining window into the lives, loves, successes and vulnerabilities of five extra ordinary local community Stars.

Carolie Ling & Emma Cox image © PationPics

Coralie Ling & Emma Cox

Rev. Coralie Ling joins the stage with her much younger resonation in Emma Cox.   We learn about Coralie’s relentless and successful battles with the establishment regarding her ambitions in becoming the first women to be ordained as a minister in the Methodist Church in 1969.

Giovanni Piccolo & Peter Logan image © PationPics

Giovanni Piccolo & Peter Logan

We find out about the struggles that community activist Peter Logan has endured since 1996 with regards to Save Albert Park group along with proven deceptions by the Grand Prix and government officials.

Karissa Taylor & Melisand Box image © PationPics

Karissa Taylor & Melisand Box

15-year-old Albert Park College student Melisand Box (right) totally embraces the opportunity to show us just how talented, ambitious and naturally confident she is in her role as a conniving savant surgeon who operates on American actress, and her personal idol, Ann Hathaway played by Karissa Taylor.

Sarah Hamilton & Tony Adams playing Tony Manago © PationPics_6337

Sarah Hamilton & Tony Adams

Last but definitely not least was the touching story of Tony Manago played by Sarah Hamilton & Tony Adams. Known as the ‘ The Singing Butcher’ of South Melbourne Market. Tony’s life took an amazing turn at age 38 when he was approached by an Italian maestro whilst, singing at the market, to eventually become a professional Opera singer touring Rome and Sicily.

Tony Manago image © John Edwards

Tony Manago image © John Edwards

The grand finale sees the real Tony Manago singing an Italian Opera, Pavarotti style.

Elizabeth Walley, Resident Director at Melbourne Writers Theatre directed this collaboration which features plays written by five MWT writers who first interviewed and then wrote scripts for the Local Stars: Bruce Shearer for ‘Only Ghosts Can Second-Guess’ (Uncovering Dick Gross); Clare Mendes ‘Rhapsody in Purple’ (Pondering Coralie Ling); Alison Knight ‘Logan’s Run’ (Reliving Peter Logan); Brooke Fairley ‘The True Imaginings of Melisand Box’ (Exploring Melisand Box); and Adele Shelley ‘The Singing Butcher’ (Celebrating Tony Manago).

Beachside  Stories is a heartwarming and entertaining showcase about real community activists; their loves, ambitions, desires, insecurities and courage.

 

SPA 2019 Fundraiser Art Auction

Text & images by Kerrie Pacholli

SPA (Sunchine Print Artspace) 2019 Fundraiser Art Auction

SPA (Sunchine Print Artspace) 2019 Fundraiser Art Auction

This May saw the Sunshine Print Artspace SPA host it’s 2019 annual Fundraiser Art Auction.

Under the same roof as the prestigious Fundere Fine Art Foundry, SPA presented 96 works of art for auction by 64 contributing artists from all over Melbourne with most works going under the hammer as SOLD.

Unlike most fundraising art auctions, contributing artists are given the option of receiving a percentage of sale of their artwork.

Adrian Spurr co-founder of SPA (Sunchine Print Artspace)

Adrian Spurr co-founder of SPA (Sunchine Print Artspace)

SPA is a non-for profit creative hub, established by Adrian Spurr and his long time colleague Phillip Doggett-Williams. It is an open space providing self-expression and creativity, dedicated to fostering, promoting and facilitating excellence and innovation in artistic practice by providing an access printmaking studio for established and emerging artists and members of our community.

Phillip Doggett-Williams co-founder of SPA

Phillip Doggett-Williams co-founder of SPA

Sunshine Print Artspace – SPA is located at the prestigious Fundere Fine Art Foundry, 29 Western Venue, Sunshine.

Forfront Emma Davies Ghost of stoneware 2019 (polypropylene) background left, Simon Moore ' Blue Shift 2018, right Arthur Powell Chrysler Bulding NY 2017

Forfront Emma Davies Ghost of stoneware 2019 (polypropylene) background left, Simon Moore ‘ Blue Shift 2018, right Arthur Powell Chrysler Bulding NY 2017

Macnamara Candidates’ Forum, 30 April 2019 Memo Music Hall

Text & Images © Kerrie Pacholli

The entire two hour event was filmed by Henry Greener producer of THE SHTICK

JoJosh Burns (ALP), Steph Hodgins-May (Greens) & Kate Ashmor (Liberals)

Josh Burns (ALP) & Steph Hodgins-May (Greens) & Josh Burns (ALP), Steph Hodgins-May (Greens) & Kate Ashmor (Liberals)

The Macnamara Candidates’ Forum was held on the 30 April 2019 in the heartlands of St Kilda at Memo Music Hall and there was standing room only.

Serge Thomann_5819

Serge Thomann from unChain Inc. event organiser

John Daley Moderator © PationPics_5643

John Daley Moderator

Michelle Foster © PationPics_5722

Michelle Foster inaugural director of Peter McMullin Centre

Lyn Allison © PationPics_5747

Lyn Allison, last former federal parliamentary leader of the Australian Democrats.

Stephen Armstrong © PationPics_5777

Stephen Armstrong for the Sustainable Australia Party.

Ruby O'Rourke © PationPics_5786

Ruby O’Rourke Independent for Child Protection

Helen Paton © PationPics IMG_5796

Helen Paton from United Australia Party

Chris Wallis © PationPics_5806

Chris Wallis for Macnamara on Sustainability & traffic congestion.

Produced and organised by Serge Thomann of unChain Inc. and sponsored by Memo Music Hall and the Vineyard the proceedings started at 7pm sharp and the race was on.

Local candidates’ Steph Hodgins-May (Greens), Kate Ashmor (Liberals) and Josh Burns (ALP) had an initial ‘timed’ four minutes to share their prospective party’s Policies on many issues across the board.  

Moderator for the night, John Daley captained a well oiled and rhythmic flow which made for a fast paced delivery from our three Macnamara Candidates for this coming Federal Election on the 18 May 2019.   

The pressure was on and all three candidates held their positions; perhaps breaking a little sweat at times, as they were succintly probed by a couple of highly distinguished keynote speakers.

Professor Michelle Foster inaugural director of the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness at the Melbourne Law School lead the charge; raising the bar from the get go about respective party policies on refugees and social-economic rights. The Greens call for a “Charter of Human Rights”, The Liberals were more about growing “The Pie” to allow small business to accommodate and Labor assured us that Penny Wong,  Minister for Foreign Affairs will be all about sorting out the mistakes from the past and pushing for a closure of Naru.

Next keynote speaker was Lyn Allison the last former federal parliamentary leader of the Australian Democrats. She delivered pointed questions on policies around corruption, secrecy and accountability.  Stating that Policies across the board are usually decided by a hand full of long time colleagues and it is not good enough.  There needs to be Indigenous representation and protection of the natural environment.  She is calling for a National Integrity Commission.  All parties did there best, however the Greens shown bright with enthusiasm aligning themselves toward Labor, maintaining a cautious eye on accountability.

We then heard from four independents in Stephen Armstrong for the Sustainable Australia Party.

Ruby O’Rourke for children’s rights. Helen Paton from the United Australia Party and Independent Chris Wallis proudly single and all for sustainability and easing traffic congestion.

Staying on schedule, there was an equally fast paced Q & A from the audience to the candidates via Slido.com through the evenings Moderator.

In summary the ALP want to stop politics of fear and move toward innovation and collaboration. The Greens see fossil fuels as ‘got to go’, wanting to move toward 100% renewables. The Liberals are wanting to continue to grow “The Pie” through standard support to private enterprise and small to large business.

Henry Greener from The Shtick filmed the entire two hour event. You will have the opportunity to hear from the main Candidates but also from a few of the unprecedented Independents bidding for a seat and voice at the Policy table. He all also be interviewing organiser Serge Thomann on THE SHTICK.

 

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