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Rock, Burlesque, Live Jazz Swing, Blues & Moonshine at The Post

review by Thomas Barker 

images by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

Last Saturday night I was treated to an invite away from my usual dinner in with my pet cat, and encouraged along to The Post Hotel, on the corner of St Kilda Road and Inkerman Street, St Kilda. I wasn’t told much about what the evening was to bring, but decided that a chicken parma and chips was going to be better than toast. I was pleasantly surprised by the gyoza side dish too.

Dinner and a show what a treat!

The downstairs bar has a traditional feel, like stepping into a late 19th century establishment, I was a little surprised when I wasn’t approached by anyone named Ischariot or Sherlock. After the timely service of our reasonably priced food, we were politely asked to head upstairs to enjoy the show.

PC & The Devious 3 © pationpics;com

Mr. PC & The Devious 3

Walking into the upstairs section was no disappointment, the art-nouveau and art-deco interior, complete with period mirrors and Persian rugs couldn’t have felt more opulent. Complete with a vodka bar hidden in one corner with a large bowl of moonshine punch to whet the whistle. The night had a theme to match the bar and pleasantly, practically all the attendees managed to dress for the occasion. ‘1940’s Gangsta’ was the dress code, and the red suspenders, black ties and short rimmed hats were everywhere.

Burlyrock's Ferri Maya © pationpics.com

Burlyrock’s Ferri Maya

The Band line up was to be something that fulfilled all expectations, experienced musicians playing original tunes and period covers such as Chuck Berry, but sadly no Gizzy Gilspy. Who I may add, had he walked into the room, would have been indistinguishable from the crowd.

Mr. PC & The Devious 3 were the first band, and set the tone of the night with their smooth and enchanting melodies; filled with quick breaks and clean licks. The two piece kit, double base, 6-string and trumpet set the walls to dancing.

After the first band we were treated to a exotic burlesque show featuring Ferri Maya from Burlyrock, a petite black swan who kept the juices flowing.

The dense cigarette fog of the balcony was as enchanting as the interior, and it felt as though one was looking out into the Laneways of White Chapel. The Montgomery Brothers took the stage as the  second band of the night, delivering us all the mail, and it read ‘rock the post’ these three played a fantastic set with a more classic stage line-up for us to groove to.

The Montgomery Brothers © pationpics.com

The Montgomery Brothers

I would like to add at this point the acoustics throughout this five room, two bar,  plus a smoking balcony old school entertainment space was GREAT.

One more burlesque show to reset the stage and introduce the final band in CC Feels.  Being far more pop-rock they truly set the scene for a final band of the night, with people beginning to hold hands and fall into one another as they erred on the side of romantic melodies. With solid rolls and a strong baseline they rocked us into the evening close.

We look forward to when The Post rocks again.

CC Feels

The Post

Cnr St Kilda Road & Interman Street, St Kilda

Ryan New, Danielle von der Borch, Harriet Devlin Image Paul Dunn

SONG FOR A WEARY THROAT review

Review Marian Webb

Ryan New, Danielle von der Borch, Harriet Devlin Image Paul Dunn

Ryan New, Danielle von der Borch, Harriet Devlin Image by Paul Dunn

SONG FOR A WEARY THROAT at the Fairfax Studio takes pride of place at the Melbourne International Arts Festival after its much-acclaimed premier at Theatreworks last year.  Directed by Kate Sulan, Rawcus Ensemble – fifteen performers with and without disability – join the Invenio Singers in a profoundly moving work of theatre.

Set in an abandoned dance-hall littered with disused carpet rolls, a destroyed cinema pew, dust and other detritus, the action begins as a performer chalks the first lines of Dante’s Inferno on a disappearing blackboard before brilliant light, loud noise, then darkness simulate a cataclysm that breaks down consensus narrative structure. The ensemble performs wordlessly, forming tableaux, shifting the furniture and reforming into choric dance routines and dramatic interpersonal events that slide from one to another like a mind rebuilding itself after disaster.

Prue Stevenson, Joshua Lynzaat Image -Sarah Walker

Prue Stevenson, Joshua Lynzaat Image by Sarah Walker

Aided by the Fairfax Studio’s superb acoustics, the accompanying soundtrack by Jethro Woodward and Gian Slater ranges through a low drone of scratched vinyl to explosion, rhythmic dance and sublime harmony. The Invenio Singers add their clear-voiced, wordless songs, at one point making a melody using only breath into hand-held mics. The performers each bring unique qualities to the ensemble, dressed in mostly casual attire that links everyday personality to stage persona.

Harriet Devlin, Ryan New, Rachel Edward, Mike McEvoy, Paul Mately, Michael Buxton, Danielle von der Borch-Image Paul Dunn

Harriet Devlin, Ryan New, Rachel Edward, Mike McEvoy, Paul Mately, Michael Buxton, Danielle von der Borch image by Paul Dunn

SONG FOR A WEARY THROAT is theatre liberated from text, broken into its elements and reconstituted into a stunning, immersive experience. Don’t miss it.

Created by the Rawcus ensemble of performers with and without disability

10 – 12 October | 7:30pm
13 October | 2:00pm & 7:30pm
14 October | 5:00pm
Duration: 65 minutes (without interval)
Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio
Book at artscentremelbourne.com.au or 1300 182 183

proudly supported by:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

produced by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

 

 

 

 

Thomas Barker (Tommy Langra) exhibiting at 33 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda during May 2018 Art Crawl.

Thomas Barker presenting ‘Queen of the South’

Multicultural Suburbia Exegesis

I first met Thomas Barker during the second St Kilda Arts Alive art crawl in May 2018. I’ve also interviewed him for a newspaper article that I write. I have discovered that Thomas is a committed artist who has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and how to use that knowledge for the betterment of the Planet.  I managed to catch up with Tom during the third art crawl in September 2018 and this is what he has to say.

Thomas Barker (Tommy Langra) exhibiting at 33 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda during May 2018 Art Crawl.

Thomas Barker (Tommy Langra) exhibiting at 33 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda during May 2018 Art Crawl image by Michael Kluge

…Standard Australian suburban housing has underrepresented the influx of recent migrants to Australia since the relaxing of the immigration policy in the 1970’s. Single separate dwelling represents a large portion of residential housing within Australia. There is no physical evidence that builders make any considerable effort to design for these ‘minority’ groups. High rise construction has proven an inadequate alternative. This research hopes to glean; aesthetic, planning, and social hierarchy lessons evident within the vernacular of major recent migrant groups, then to identify plausible design outcomes for Melbourne suburbia if the origin-vernacular of these groups had been used to inspire the urban landscape. This research will take a selection of recent migrant cultures, explore their traditional dwellings, urban fabric, and propose an appropriate vernacular.

By Thomas Barker

 

St Kilda Arts Alive Sept. 2018

Supported by Creative Victoria the St Kilda Arts Community launched their third art crawl this September with a special event at St Kilda’s iconic Palais Theatre.

MC Tony Bolton and comedien Nikki Osborne hosted the fun filled evening with Bernadene Voss the Mayor of the City of Port Phillip as keynote speaker.

The Mayor was joined by Cr Ogy Simic and Cr Marcus Pearl in celebrating and endorsing the official launch of St Kilda Arts Alive Sept 2018 Art Crawl.

The view of the St Kilda art scene over the weekend was more intimate than in previous art crawls with most of the activities happening within the established art galleries, where art enthusiasts met and engaged with the artists and their art through organized walking tours.

Currently with 23 empty shops, the sunset side of Fitzroy Street was light on in participation. However Tolarno Restaurant hosted a beautiful exhibition by national treasure Mirka Mora, St Luja, an extraordinary Pop-Up Poetry event presented by Grid Art Space titled Tribute to Women featuring five amazing poets and musicians in Marian Webb, Rowena Molloy, Belle Phoenix, Lisa Wood and Annemarie Bowman. The Pelican featured an outstanding photographic exhibition by St Kilda based visual artist Alan Cotton as well as kicking off their Jazz afternoons on Sundays. The Paris end of Fitzroy Street had Textured Life by Kate Drinnan open the doors to the public along with the Alex Theatre featuring among other artists sculptor Adrian Spur and theatrical productions over the weekend.

The  Novotel curated a very impressive exhibition with artist in residence Justine Kuran,

A stage was erected in Acland Street Mall showcasing entertainment over the weekend. Planetary Healing Artists presented a multi cultural celebration for the International Day of Peace on Friday. On Saturday night the arts community commandeered the stage where Carol Ann Gill’s Pantomime Productions presented a teaser from The Frog Prince. On Sunday various spoken word along with local and visiting performing artists graced the stage throughout the day.

The Acland Street precinct had special events at Memo Music Hall, Made in Earth, Empower, Toot, Art Yarramunua, Readings, Abby Road, Comedy at Big Mouth and an exhibition by Salik Silverstein at Leroys.

Barkly Street, St Kilda Road and Carlisle Streets precincts shined bright this crawl with 106art, the Storehouse, 4Diverse, Body Gallery, Space2b, Maureen Williams, Ilanel and Design Studio going all out to put on top exhibitions.

The Post Pop-Up Gallery situated upstairs presented by Grid Art Space featured the works of seven local artists in Dino Damiani, Robert Scholten, Rainbow Clarke, Salik Silverstein, Salvatori Lolicato, Calthestoner and Remen Blake Hambly.

As Policy values the positive influence of art and culture as a fertile way to energize St Kilda, State and local government’s are keen to support the creative endeavors of organizations like the St Kilda Arts Community, a non-for profit managed by a small and dedicated team of volunteers.

Text & images by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

St Kilda Identities Serge Thomann, Johnny Iodine & Henry Greener image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

Creativity, art, power & politics

by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

St Kilda Identities Serge Thomann, Johnny Iodine & Henry Greener image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

St Kilda Identities Serge Thomann, Johnny Iodine & Henry Greener at the Vineyard during the inaugural SKAC launch image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

Back in mid August 2017 I joined the ranks of the community minded, consisting mainly of a small group of residents.

Over a number of years these individuals had watched their beloved St Kilda in parts, become a barren wasteland. Business in pockets throughout St Kilda had taken a nose drive. Large numbers of the artistic community that had once elevated St Kilda as the artistic epicenter of Melbourne had fled to Brunswick.

Inspired by the strategies of local businesses in other withering cities around the world this group set about igniting creative spirit into the city they loved. The non-for-profit charity The St Kilda Art Crawl was born.

I came on board quite late in the piece, by invitation from one of the founders; it was about 4 weeks before the date of the September art crawl. My first impression was this creative movement has legs. I noted the commitment of the organizers and decided to jump on board boots and all as a volunteer.

My job was to assist with online publicity. The second thing I noted was that the galleries, local businesses and established artists although expressing interest in this event were dragging their heals to officially commit. The main difference between this St Kilda art event and other cities around the world were individuals who were not local property or business owners were organizing this. The pressure was on.

I was way out of touch with the St Kilda art scene and only knew of a couple of galleries that had decided not to participate at that time.

Local artist Marko Maglaic was among the first to commit his time, talents and name on the dotted line in curating a collective pop up exhibition in Christ Church in Acland Street.

A chance meeting with local artist Salvatori Lolicato at 95 Acland Street Café lead me to produce a filmed and written interview with another Shakespeare Grove Artists Studios artist Adrian Spurr and then I was in the business of publicizing local artists in reference to the September 2017 St Kilda Art Crawl.

Two weeks to the crawl date we met Freddie Warschauer owner of a big chunk of real estate on the sunset side of Fitzroy Street. We asked him about the potential of using his window spaces for art and straight up he was keen as punch to put his time, resources and properties to work for a successful Fitzroy Street art crawl contribution.

Property owners Jenny Li and Rob Semple also decided to contribute and gave us the keys to 33 Fitzroy Street and we proceeded to produce what eventually turned out to be two pop up gallery’s showcasing the works of 18 artists over two crawls.

The St Kilda Live Music and St Kilda Comedy Club became proactive and the Espy opened their doors for the first time in years to support them and the crawl with local council deciding to give some money to make this happen.

The seeds of enthusiasm and positive creativity took flight among the arts community.

May 2018 saw the second St Kilda Art Crawl come to life with over 32 galleries including five pop ups stretching from Fitzroy Street, Barkly Street, St Kilda Road and Carlisle Street. With a 60% increase in community participation the event is considered a success by the organizers.

I asked Serge Thomann Photographer and Deputy Mayor of the CoPP between 2012 – 2016 his perspective about art in St Kilda.

How do you feel power, politics and money can assist the St Kilda Arts Community?

It is not known by many that Local Government is the government body that spend the most money on culture and art, from running libraries (Port Phillip has got 5), providing spaces (Gasworks, Linden, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Save the ABC, Carlisle Streets The Gallery, Shakespeare Grove Artists Studios, etc) to supporting local organisations (Red Stitch, Theatreworks, Rawcus, Phillip Adams Ballet Lab, MAV, Brightspace, The Torch, just to name a few) and individuals through various grants. There are also staff members who help artists and companies and mentor them. Obviously, the funds provided by a Council can make a big difference in the cultural landscape of a city. St Kilda has been an art hub for decades and we need to keep some of the creative juices flowing through our village. I believe artists are much better in running art programs – but they need to be funded, e.g. the importance of a Council. After due diligence, of course.

 How do you feel the St Kilda Arts Community can further give voice and make room for artists, art and creative pursuits?

As St Kilda is getting more gentrified, it is always more difficult for artists to find a voice and a space in our village. Artists have always had to fight for survival. And some artists are good, and some not so good. Or should I say popular or not so popular. St Kilda still has got great artists living here – painters (Peter Booth, Andrew Taylor, Lewis Miller, Ann Middleton, Alan Mittleman, Chris Beaumont, just to name a few), film makers and actors, fashion designers, sculptors, photographers, writers, comedians, etc… but most are a bit older and have been in St Kilda for many years. I agree, probably most of the young and up and coming artists live on the other side of the Yarra. There are several artists studios and spaces, but at the end, people should buy more art so more artists can live from their work. The St Kilda Arts Community does provide exposure for artists, creates a buzz around them. Being an artist can be a lonely world but SKAC brings them together and creates a family. This can only be encouraged. I am right behind it. Money can help, but it is not the only valuable ingredient for growth and prosperity.                                            

 

 

Eco Centre’s Neil Blake OAM, Baykeeper of the Watch

In 1992 Robert Mate Mate, a dear friend and creative collaborator introduced me to Neil Blake as the Penguin Man. At that time Neil devoted a big chunk of energy studying and protecting the Port Phillip Penguins that come to roost every night at the end of St Kilda Pier.

As Robert Mate Mate was an Aboriginal from Woorrabinda I naturally believed that Neil was also Aboriginal because of his exceptionally long white beard.  I was later to learn from Robert, who was a tribal elder, storyteller, anthropologist, historian and all-round magic guy, that the ‘Old People’ believed all people born to this land are indigenous and part of the ‘Old People’s’ ancestry; and that when the first Aborigines saw white people they saw ancestors from another dimension. I still find that a head spinner.

Neil has proven to be one of the most dedicated, inspiring and resilient ecological freedom fighters I have had the privilege to meet.  To this day Neil has his long white beard and is hard at it working the Eco Centre in St Kilda, Werribee Riverkeeper, Melbourne’s Western Waterways and Yarra Riverkeeper to name a few of his many projects and involvements. I asked Neil a few questions.

Why have parts of St Kilda’s business community been withering on the vine?

It’s important to recognise that the withering vines are not just in St Kilda, as many property owners across Melbourne leave their premises empty rather than accepting low rents at the true market value. As this financial conundrum is difficult for everyday people to fathom, there is a tendency to lay blame on more visible factors…. a popular sport across the ages.

J.B  Cooper’s ‘History of St Kilda’ recalls (in the 1880’s) “newspapers urged the police to visit the bay line from the Esplanade to the Red Bluff, where several tents were occupied by an undesirable class. Sly grog selling, it was said, was going on in the tents.  The vicinity of the tents was strewn with broken bottles. These vagabonds along the seashore had changed what was once a beautiful walk into a scene of desolation.”

Tell that to the Yalukut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung who for tens of thousands of years respected and maintained that “beautiful walk”.  They harvested shellfish at Point Ormond, but not in the spawning season, so the next harvest would be a good one. The notion of restricting consumption was a foreign concept to the European colonists who, apart from the undesirable classes, were allowed to exploit the environment wherever and whenever they could.

Speaking of Fitzroy Street, Cooper tells us “….it has a dash of his (Sir Charles Fitzroy’s) pleasure-loving vice regal spirit. Sir Charles was… a gentleman whose hospitality extends over a wide circle of friends… as good a judge of Claret and Burgundy as you’ll find in the Colony.” His spirit seemed to have permeated through to the 1990’s when a St Kilda Mayor remarked at the funeral of a well-known street drunk: “He was noisy and looked scary, but those who got to know him found him quite intelligent but unhinged from his time in Vietnam. You know, if he was in Doncaster instead of St Kilda… he would have been locked up!”

In 1835, the Yalukit Weelam were caught between the reef and a hard place with the arrival of Europeans, their millions of sheep, and their guns. In 1985, the remnants of red sandstone they used to grind seed and stone gradually disappeared from St Kilda south beach by the mechanical beach rakes introduced to solve the daily tide of plastic trash.

Everything in nature must reinvent itself some time… we call it evolution.

How can the local community reinvigorate the rebirth cycle of street life?

In early St Kilda, the land south of Fitzroy Street was known as the ‘wattle paddock’, populated by an open bush of Banksia, Acacia, and Red Gum trees. The elevated land of St Kilda hill and adjacent low lying wetlands (Elwood swamp and Albert Park lagoon) offered a rich landscape to support the diversity of local fauna. They all had a role to play and were at home in that place and happy to stay. But their diversity diminished as swamp was reclaimed; and trees, grasses and wildflower habitats were lost to classy mansions and the stylish new seaside resort of St Kilda. The natural estate became the real estate, which became the unreal estate of today.

By the 1970s, the splendour was in decline with Victorian and Edwardian housing stock in serious need of repair. The upside was that the lower rents attracted a wide range of artists who, in the absence of regular income, managed to thrive on the bohemian atmosphere. The seaside and sunsets across the water grace each day…. and all roads (and public transport) from the northeast and south lead to St Kilda.

Since the industrial revolution, the pace of change continues to escalate due to global population growth, increased consumption and modification of natural resources. For at least the past 50 years climate change (in total contempt of the deniers) has been steadily disrupting and displacing third world populations while ‘first world’ peoples nervously tighten their grip on their comfort zone.

The small fish that come into the Cowderoy Street outfall on the high tide know, that’s when the water’s too deep for the Night Herons to prowl; and they stick together to celebrate another day.

Text & image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

PUFFS opening night at The Alex Theatre

images & text by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

Opening night of PUFFS at the Alex Theatre was a roaring success with a full house of Potter enthusiasts and a red carpet soiree that attracted Melbourne’s stalwart theatre buffs.

Among the many dignitaries to attend where Master printmaker and sculptor Adrian Spurr who currently has works in the piano room of The Alex Theatre for the duration of the PUFFS session, as well as artist Tommy Langra who has been exhibiting his works at Punchinello Pop-Up at 33 Fitzroy St, St Kilda.

Artist's Tommy Langra, Susan Popov & Adrian Spurr image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

Artist’s Tommy Langra, Susan Popov & Adrian Spurr 

Host Alex Vass with resident artist Adrian Spurr

Heidi Victoria, Alex Theatre Aleks Vass with resident artist Adrian Spurr

Artist Emily Jane Pappas with local identity Freddie Warschauer image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

Artist Emily Jane Pappas with local identity Freddie Warschauer

Shooters Jim Lee, Matt Doller & the man with the moves Sam Tabone

Shooters Jim Lee, Matt Doller & the man with the moves Sam Tabone

 

 

PUFFS at The Alex Theatre

Review by Tommy Langra , photos by Ben Fon

The magical world of laughter, this encapsulating play reiterates to us never to judge a book by its cover. A cover, a first appearance leads us to believe that PUFFS is a sole comedic look at the now notorious Hogwarts, less known boarding house Huffle Puff. Mark Cox’s ingenious play actually offers viewers a reflection of growing up in the 80s and 90s.

How magical is Hogwarts and the Gen Y obsession when those slightly older kids remember a time of X Men, Batman, and the late 90s existential Crisisio that affected anyone aged 14+.

Feel free to laugh along with jokes about now partly forgotten movies such as Free Willy and Rambo 2. For those who missed the scent of Teen Spirit from the likes of Butter Beer there are obviously plenty of references to the Potter books themselves, and even the ultimate cosmic evil, Daleks!

For theatre junkies the play was fast paced and tight knit and happily the cast took us back to our high school years. Adding to the sense of the plays timeline. With a brief quip about the age of the main character.

Make sure you don’t rush out of the Alex Theatre before admiring the prop lined walls with humorous spells gone wrong and hessian cobwebs. Sign of the kind of all encompassing event, a real magical romp.

Artist Tommy Langra exhibiting at Punchinello Pop-Up

33 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda 10am – 6pm

St Kilda Art Crawl May 25, 26 & 27

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Tommy Langra will be working and exhibiting at Punchinello Pop-Up everyday during the St Kilda Crawl from 10 – 6pm at 33 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda

Artist Dino Damiani exhibiting at HQ Gallery

St Kilda Art Crawl May  25, 26 & 27

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