Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ember Lounge this Thursday

Take a moment to admire the grace and style of my small promotional image for my next gig. Photoshop. Ten minutes. That baby has never looked better (nor has he or she ever said anything so important).
To those around Melbourne - come along to the Ember Lounge this Thursday 4th at 8pm for my first solo set for the year - satisfaction guaranteed!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Music

Hi Kids.
I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas break, catching up with friends and family, and recuperating from the hectic year that was.
This is just a short post to let you know of a couple of gig dates I have coming up for those inclined to listen to music of the highest standards.

Thurs, Jan 4th (next week!) - solo set at about 9pm
Thurs, Jan 11th - Baby Drivers (me & monica) after 9pm

More info on exact times to follow. Both sets are at the Ember Lounge & Tapas (I guess they also sell tapas) which is at 111 High St, Northcote (Vic). Any queries or to subscribe to the Baby Drivers mailing list for upcoming dates email: babydrivers [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Post Modern

Just so you know, StopPanicking was not my first choice for this blog's name. My other considered addresses were:

1. bloodymess (a great show by Forced Entertainment, also the name of a song I wrote)

2. emotionalcripple (my medical condition, also the name of a song I wrote)

3. masterofnone (a favourite phrase, also the name of a play I am trying to write)

4. tothedogs (a show by Lone Twin, also I like dogs)

Alas, all of these were taken. It all made me feel pretty unoriginal. I finally settled on 'StopPanicking' (my favourite piece of advice [as a giver not a taker], also [rather predictable now ain't it?] the name of a song I wrote).

Anyway, just after I've set everything up, I think of a blog name that would have perfectly summed me and my brief blog experience up - and it wasn't taken!
Rhys fails again.
Stop panicking.

Thoughts on Volver

As the theatre season is winding to a halt over Christmas, it looks like my first 'review' will be of a film. Actually, I'm not sure about using the word 'review' for so many reasons (Cowboy Mouth & I have had many conversations about the difference between a 'reviewer' and a 'critic', with me at one point suggesting that a 'critic' is merely a 'reviewer' who is doing their job correctly). Well then, this is not a 'review' nor a 'critique'. In this case just my personal impressions before I fall asleep and turn off the computer (probably in that order).

Ever since I saw All About My Mother (1999), I have relished getting to know Pedro Almodóvar's colourful, stylish and touching work. However, Volver (and its predecessor, Bad Education (2004)) were both enjoyable yet somehow underwhelming. Volver brought to mind Hitchcock in many of its imaginative shots and themes (think The Trouble With Harry or Spellbound) and even the score. The story concerns the mother of two sisters returning as a ghost and helping sort out the problems she left unfinished in her life. Unlike Hitchcock, the problem with this story was in the telling. There are a few plot turns and developments that are telegraphed to you pretty early on, and so I lost a lot of interest early on (not that this film is a mystery or thriller by any means). It's hard to fault a film with fine performances (Cruz is very good, as is Carmen Maura as the mother), good direction - it's all there. Missing, perhaps, is Almodóvar's cheeky sense of fun found in his earlier films. Still, pretty enjoyable overall, I'm just holding Pedro to a higher standard.

Again, just some random thoughts there - mainly for Vlad who I know is dying to see it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pennies from Heaven

And so I begin my second ever entry which I think means that this is officially turning into a real blog. I was walking in sunny Frankston this afternoon when provided with a glorious sight - a Christian on a soapbox! I love the whole concept of the soapbox and think they are sadly becoming a thing of the past (perhaps I would be using one if I didn't have this soapblog to hoist myself above the flotsam and jetsam of internet foot traffic). I was lucky enough to spend some time in London a couple of years ago where every week people traditionally set up a soap box in one of the parks and just let fly with whatever was on their mind (it usually was not soap).

In Frankston, this sight was a true find. A bearded man was shouting loudly about the ten commandments and how we should all admit our personal sins (he himself generously admitted to stealing - just to kick things off I felt). Being a practicing atheist, I have to check myself against getting instantly annoyed and even angry at Christians (especially loud ones) who are telling me what I should and should not do with my life. After all, I don't have a problem with some of the underlying principles of the faith, just the zealous groups that continue to meddle within the political framework, as if we non-believers don't know what's good for us. This particular soldier of God seemed to be harmless, and I actually felt pity for him - Frankston is a tough crowd at the best times. I'm an actor and musician and have performed lots of times and in different situations, but I don't think I'd ever have the guts to perform this man's task.

Anyway, a group of likely local lads approached me, and I noticed them carrying a couple of what appeared to be 100 dollar notes (apparently they were being handed out by the shouting man). Their conversation was approximately as follows:
(looking at the notes) "What the fuck is this shit?"
"Look at that, 'one million dollars'."
"Hey man, it's got a million bucks written on it."
"What the fuck is this shit?"
"A fake one million dollar note. What the fuck am I supposed to do with a fake one million dollar note?"
At this point he threw the note away and they moved on. The note, however, was caught up in the breeze and flittered around - all the while losing altitude - before hitting the ground as I passed by it. Poor little guy. I was tempted to pick it up, but I didn't want the Christians to think I would believe in things that don't exist.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You Are Welcome Here

I'd like to say i had nobler reasos for beginning this blog but it is primarily because two pals (loz the credible witness and vlad the cowboy mouth) took the leap into cyberimmortality. I'm not sure what this will become, but I have a feeling it may include the odd theatre review/ruminations (i see a lot of theatre) as well as reflections on my own work as a writer, theatrician and singer-songwriter. In the next week or so (like cowboy mouth) I will be sharing lists of my fav theatre/film/TV and books for '06.
At the very least i hope to use this as an exercise to help keep me constantly writing, keep the motor whirring. Arts and culture are a big part of my life, but I don't read many blogs so have no real formula to follow. I'm certain, however, that this will not be simply a theatre or music blog, but a blog that also accomodates the ramblings of someone still wondering what the hell he will waste his time on next.
In the meantime, you are welcome here.