Category Archives: review of everything in the world

BNE artist interviews #1: Erica Field

Today’s entry is part of a new monthly series where I will be interviewing artists from Brisbane. For the first installment I sit down with my good friend Erica Field as she talks about transforming herself into a boy, bleeding on stage and falling in love with the audience.

Goneril
photo: Sean Young


JD: I’ve heard it said that you hate hypothetical questions. If you had to choose
 between answering a hypothetical question and getting repeatedly hit in the face with a pillow at 5am what would you do?

EF: I would prefer being hit in the head with a pillow. 

JD: You’ve worked with a number of creatives from around Australia and overseas. Do you have an organization or show that is on your wish list?

 EF: Top of my wish list would be doing Six Women again. We had offers from various places but because we couldn’t fund it, it just never happened. I think it should be seen all over the world. Seen AND felt.  I absolutely believe in that show.

Six Women Standing In Front Of A White Wall from Little Dove Theatre Art on Vimeo.

 JD: You’ve studied and performed in Edinburgh, Berlin and all over Australia. What makes you keep coming home to Brisbane?

 EF: I just think that Brisbane is really starting to get going. I feel like there’s a generation of artists that are starting to really develop a very strong creative and  artistic voice. And I’ll be here as long as I can be part of that!

LVH003photo: Fenlan Chuang

JD: What is the weirdest theatre piece you’ve ever seen?

EF: The most full on piece that I’ve seen was by a guy called Ron Athey. Does a lot of
  stuff where he cuts himself. In this one particular piece…maybe I won’t go into it. Do you want me to?

JD: Yeah!

EF: He had all these barbs in his head and he took them out one by one so that streams of blood were pouring down his face. He smeared blood all over the set.

 JD: I can just imagine the risk assessment form for that show…

EF: And then he covered himself in a kind of milky lubricating substance and fisted himself. And then he was rained on by rock salt.

JD: Why art?

EF: What else would I do? It just makes sense to me. I guess…I don’t know how else to understand the world. Or find beauty in the world.

_DSC8683 - 2010-06-30 at 19-22-02photo: Morgan Roberts

JD: You’re well known for having a highly immersive research process for your performances. For Room 328 you dressed as a boy and during this time you started eating protein powder. What else did you do to prepare for this role?

EF: Yeah, it was different each time. The first time I didn’t quite know how to just be comfortable and for the qualities of that character to become really part of me. The first time round I just spent a lot of time wearing boy clothes and just trying to eliminate I guess all the…ah…it’s dangerous territory but ‘feminine’ things out of what I did. I spent a lot of time with Liesel Zink, who was our movement consultant, just watching the young punk kids that hang outside Rocking Horse.  Just looking at the way they behave and their movements.

   IMG_0521

photo: Mircha Mangiacotti

JD: Your performances such as six women and room 328 tend to be interactive and participatory pieces which involve everything from being slapped by audience members to dancing with them. Do you have a favourite moment of audience interaction?

EF: Yes. One of them was a guy during the season of Six Women in Edinburgh. This guy came up to touch me and I was crying and I had a bit of snot and he wiped away the tears, stroked my face and just very, very gently put his hand on my side and then we just stood there together really close. And in that moment I thought we could be lovers. He was amazing and then he left, and I fell in love with him just a little bit. It was a very tiny moment but just the quality of it was so beautiful.

  Up-All-Night-3-copy-2

photo: Adam Sebestian West

JD: Tell us about your upcoming show the Raven. Are you going to punch anybody?

EF: I’m not going to punch anybody. BUT it’s immersive. It’s going to be a really beautiful meditation on the kind of fear of letting go, particularly of someone you’ve loved and you now need to let go of and the kind of loss and sadness that is involved with that and being alone in the world.

THE RAVEN, inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe, runs from the 7th until the 31st of March at Metro Arts Theatre and you should definitely go becuase it will be amazing. 

 

Bright Eyes @ the BNE Hifi reviewed for Rave magazine

 

Just a quick sidenote: If any crazed stalker fan wanted to murder Connor Oberst, it would be really hilarious to creep up behind him and sing the line "turn around bright eyes…" from this song before getting all Charlie Manson. Original article HERE.


Bright-eyes

The Hi-Fi – Thu Nov 17

Darren Hanlon’s story songs, presented here in simple format with just guitar and drums, are an excellent start to the evening. Kevin Devine, a surprise last-minute addition to the bill, launches into 30 minutes of captivating songs that are delivered in everything from a whisper to a primal scream and leaves the surprised crowd spellbound.

Connor Oberst and the accompanying six musicians that compromise the Bright Eyes cohort walk on to rapturous applause and launch straight into Four Winds. Oberst and co. present the bulk of the songs tonight in a majestic, almost gospel format, playing a slew of their better-known tracks and a few hidden gems across a massive two and a half hour set. The band gives the impression that they are having a brilliant time on stage (with the exception of the keyboardist who looks about as thrilled as a hung-over misanthrope filling out a tax return). Their performance is somewhat grandiloquent, Oberst at times getting his Bono on and reaching out to the hands of the adoring crowd, but this has never been a band to do things by halves. They close with an epic rendition of Road To Joy and an almost religious performance of One For You, One For Me.


The String Bridge is a thing that you should acquire post-haste.

 

String Bridge final cover_front

Dearest humans and computer literate apes of earth, I come with glad tidings! My friend and fellow 100 Stories for Queensland contributor, Jessica Bell, has just released her new book The String Bridge. Recent research indicates that acquiring this book will make you more attractive, intelligent and improve your bowling average by 23.5%.

The book is being released with a soundtrack written and performed by the author, which is pretty damn impressive if you ask me. You can get the soundtrack for FREE (my favourite price) if you purchase the book on November 11th and email the receipt to jessica.carmen.bell(at) gmail(dot)com. I guess you could also just email her inspiring quotes, recipe ideas, and your top ten make out songs if you really wanted. Just don’t try adding her to any spam lists though because Jess is a poet and everyone knows poets are the toughest bastards around and she may just find a way to clip you over the ears via skype.  

 The String Bridge has received a bunch of rave reviews (by which I mean highly complimentary reviews, not people on pills listening to Underworld in brightly coloured clothing giving it the thumbs up) but you should read it yourself because you are smart enough to make your own opinion. 

You can get more info and check out Jess' blog here: http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/ (she's pretty easy on the eyes, just quietly) and she has some great insights into the creative process. 

Alternatively, you could watch Zelda vs Ice Climbers.

 

BLACKLIGHT featuring Pigeon / Lunch Tapes / The Medics reviewed for rave magazine


View and comment on the original article at Rave Magazine HERE.

BLACKLIGHT: The Medics / Lunch Tapes / Pigeon / Boss Moxi

Lightspace – Fri Nov 4

The promoters of tonight’s event describe the venue, Lightspace, as a ‘classy warehouse.’ Sheer white curtains adorn the walls and stage, candles cast flickering shadows and my friend (name withheld by request) comments that the luxury hand soap in the bathroom is worth $40 a bottle and she is considering relocating it to the interior of her handbag. From the very beginning, it is clear that this is not going to be your standard warehouse party.

Boss Moxi are the first of four bands this evening, they greet an initially sparse crowd with a sonic smorgasbord of bouncy psychedelic rock tunes and twin guitars soaked in delay. There are a few average tracks scattered amongst their better material, but songs like Esso and Hospital Drums are catchy enough to make this a memorable performance. Halfway through, the second guitarist switches to saxophone and their act really starts to pick up. The last few songs bring their set to an explosive, frenetic finish.

 

Pigeon parallels 4tj

Pigeon are next on the bill, and their five members proceed to set up an impressive arsenal of brass, electronic and rock instrumentation. Essentially, Pigeon sound like The Knife jamming with the Happy Mondays in Ibiza in the ‘80s whilst watching Eurovision. The really appealing thing about watching this band is that you just don’t know what’s going to happen next. Their five members switch from laptops and synths to guitars and drums to brass and back again. The crowd responds to their brilliantly unpredictable performance with a frenzied display of raving and moshing, and by the time they pull Boss Moxi’s sax player onto the stage for a ‘sax off’, this has become one of the most outstanding local shows in recent memory. From this they segue into a bizarrely brilliant synth and brass cover of Phil Collins’ Another Day In Paradise with a quick cameo appearance from the iconic sax solo from Baker St. Watching this band play is 16 kinds of fun, and by the time they finish the crowd is soaked in sweat and smiles.

 

Lunchtapes

Announcing this is their final performance “as Lunch Tapes” I can only guess as to whether the band means they are planning a name change or undergoing some kind of superhuman metamorphosis. Playing a fun, energetic selection of loud ‘70s psychedelia-influenced rock songs, Lunch Tapes’ standout track The Thrills Of Being Young exemplifies their whole approach to performance: violinist Harriet Straker adding lift and energy to their sound, and lead guitarist Julian Holland playing some absolutely blistering licks. I look forward to seeing Lunch Tapes 2.0.

 

The MedicsA_006_HiRes

The Medics are the last in an extraordinary line-up tonight. Their four members (and their hair, which is collectively shaggy enough to clothe a small Alaskan village) don their instruments and begin. Their classic rock band line-up looks almost underwhelming after this evening’s selection of violins, trumpets, synths and saxophones, but they have an undeniably commanding presence. Somewhat reminiscent of The Temper Trap, they play a series of epics that ebb and flow from quiet, dreamy moments to soaring electric crescendos paired with ethereal vocals. However, the band sometimes gets a little lost in themselves, during one particular odyssey the audience performs that awkward ‘clapping at the assumed end of the song only to discover that there is another section’ two times over before the song eventually ends. Finally, a storm of drums and throbbing bass and strummed guitars brings the evening to a close.

JOSH DONELLAN

 

Eighty Nine now available everywhere and everywhen

 

Eighty Nine

My contribution (as well as the other stories) from the Eighty Nine literary mixtapes anthology are now online. You can read them for free here, (you cheapskates), and then purchase a copy from the site or amazon if you want to hold it in your hot little hands. 

The writers participating in this anthology were each given a song from 1989 and instructed to link it to a historical event from that year and write a speculative fiction story. I'm not kidding, this was the best prompt I have ever been given. You can read reviews and such on goodreads here if you like to have other people form your opinions for you. Personally I just use an Indian outsourcing service. 

"Hey Krishna, what did I think of the new Ian McEwan book? Overly verbose huh? Self-indulgent pompous tripe? Well, sounds a bit harsh, but okay, if you say so…"

Ball Park Music review (for Rave Magazine)

 Ball-Park-Music-610x409

 

View and comment on this article on the Rave website HERE

Ball Park Music / Northeast Party House / The Jungle Giants

The Zoo – Sat Oct 15

The Jungle Giants open proceedings by serving up a sonic selection of fun and friendly guitar pop that is summery enough to convince an Eskimo to invest in a pair of board-shorts and a badminton set. Next, six-piece dance rock outfit Northeast Party House unleash a swathe of thick fuzz bass-lines and twin guitars drenched in delay. Some of their songs are uncomfortably reminiscent of Bloc Party, but the second half of their set reveals some original material that really lifts the roof. If these guys aren’t huge in the near future, I’ll eat my hat. Of course, my hat is a novelty hat constructed from nachos, but nevertheless…

Ball Park Music greet a rapturous crowd by opening with Literally Baby, the first track from their recently released debut album, before segueing straight into Rich People Are Stupid and then announcing, “Hi Everybody, we’re The Jezabels.” At the end of their first five minutes on stage tonight they’ve already displayed an impressive mix of skilled musical performance and ridiculous humour. By the time they hit All I Want Is You the crowd is more than ready to participate in a good ol’ fashioned clap-along, which is followed shortly thereafter by a trombone-led cover of Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People.

Throughout their set BPM give the impression that they are having even more fun than the crowd, (if that’s even possible). The band closes with the obscenely infectious iFly, Sam Cromack deciding to conclude a consistently brilliant evening by pouring a bottle of red wine on the crowd. It’s the kind of move that would be career suicide in any other line of work. Tonight, however, it seems nothing but appropriate.

JOSH DONELLAN

 

UNINSPIRATIONAL QUOTES EPISODE 2

"No matter how good you are at your job, there will always be someone much less talented than you making a lot more money."

This might seem like  cop out statement for an artist, but I feel it's never a bad idea to reiterate just how terrible the taste of the general public is. Just look at the ten most popular youtube videos; 20% Miley Cyrus and 20% babies laughing. I have to confess that with my eyes closed I have difficulty distinguishing between them. 

this was the only video in the top ten that didn't make my eyeballs want to vomit:

But wait, there's a slightly larger quantity than was previously expected! Just take a look at the world of books and see how bad the situation is. I mean, I wouldn't mind sitting several thousand sales slots beneath, say Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood or Don Delilo. But these jokers? We're basically talking the literary equivalent of that god-awful 90s throwback grunge band you saw at O'Malleys a few weekends ago with the lead singer with a beer gut and a guns'n'roses tattoo. Picture that band raking in millions of dollars a year.

Yeah, fucking EXACTLY.

Overton

THE OVERTON WINDOW

by Glenn "I hate everything except money" Beck

Sure, I know, everyone weighs in on Glenn Beck. He's an easy target. But here's the thing: HE SHOULDN'T BE. It shouldn't be so disgustingly, appalling easy to pick deathstar sized holes in the arguments and rationalisations of someone with such significant influence. Not content to simply pose as an appallingly poor journalist, Beck also writes the kind of fiction that gives gun-toting rednecks with a pathological fear of anyone who speaks 'foreign' a delightful shiver in their commie-hatin' loins. If you can read this book without wanting to remove your eyeballs with a melonballer, then I applaud you.

The plot is thinly veiled disguise for Beck's general polemic ranting, which can basically be summed up by just spitting on the universal declaration of human rights (which, coincidentally, currently ranks #830,082.)

Lover

LOVER AVENGED

by J R "no actually I've never heard of True Blood" Ward

This is a story about a vampire (I know, it already smacks of originality right?) but not just any kind of vampire! The protagonist of Lover Avenged is a SYMPATH vampire, who "gets energy from manipulating others' emotions." If only Edward Cullen gained his power from manipulating the hormones of menopausal midwives, he'd be stronger than the gravitational field of a collapsed star.

Okay so this sympath vampire's name is Revhenge (actual spelling), and surprisingly, he isn't part of a six-piece gangster rap posse from south-central LA. I could go on, but basically the hideous fact that this author penned a series of Sookie Stackhouse ripoff/general vampire cash in books so shamefacedly is only outstripped by the horror of their success. Which brings us to:

Marry him

MARRY HIM  

by Lori Gottlieb (seems unfair to make fun of such a ridiculous name).

This is basically several hundred pages of Ms. Gottlieb screaming "Just settle!" Seriously. The fundamental premise of this book is that by searching for 'Mr Right' women miss their golden chance at settling down for a life of beige-coated, vanilla flavoured, AM radio sound tracked mediocrity with Mr. Good Enough. This is possibly the most depressing premise for a book I've EVER heard. And I've read the Bell Jar twice.

10 of the Best Books Set in India (with its Multitudinous Mysteries)

Here's a list of books about/set in India I did for Flashlight Worthy books. I hope you enjoy it, but no so much that it inspires you to write your own novel because lord only knows I don't need the competition:

http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/Best-Books-About-India/583

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO DYING IN INDIA BY JM DONELLAN, REVIEWED BY JM DONELLAN

It's
been a busy week. I've been flat out organising the interstate tour and
doing radio interviews (you know it's going to be quality airtime when
the guy out of the front of the station greets you with a joint in his
hand). My novel was finally released in Australia this week, and man,
Oprah will just NOT GET OFF MY CASE. Seriously. Yesterday she rang me
up and she was all like:

Oprah_winfrey

“Oh my god I loved your boooook!"

You
know, with that rising voice thing she does. Let me tell you, it might
be endearing to watch on your telebox but it is PAINFUL to listen to in
your ear. So I was like,

JMDonellan pic

"Listen Oprah, I'm actually on the last level of

Street fighter IV. Can you txt me later?"

Oprah1
“When can I get you on my show? I was going to have the Olsen twins on in January but their agent just called and said they'll be in rehab or prison or terrorist training camp or some crap. You free then?”

JMDonellan pic

  "Yeah Listen O-town I'm actually going to be in  Cambodia writing the next book in January."

Oprah2

“Well can I at least get a review to tweet to my peeps?"

JMDonellan pic

"Seriously, O-face, have you ever tried to beat Zangief on level 7? It's f**king hard. And trying to do so with an overexcited billionaire yammering on is making it a lot harder. Look, I'll write you a goddam review myself. Here tis:"

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO DYING IN INDIA

BY JM DONELLAN

(REVIEWED BY JM DONELLAN)

Look, I don’t know what the hell I was
thinking
when I wrote this. Didn’t I realise that no one reads books unless
they are about vampires or wizards? Perhaps I should have written a book about
a young vampire wizard on a quest to unlock an ancient mystery hidden within a
famous painting whilst pursuing romance with a sexy rockstar who leads a
double life as a crime scene investigator. That’d really get the money men
drooling.

EdwardCullen   +      Wizhat4c+ 220px-MileyCyrusApr09 

= best selling piece o' crap ever.

Everyone from the tweenies to gay twenty-somethings to soccer mums
would be trampling over each other to get to their nearest Borders to pick that
shit up. It’d probably even be adapted into a movie directed by an ex-porn star
struggling to gain some credibility.

I mean, look at the vocabulary in
this book. Kaleidoscopic? Prometheal? It’s like I expect people to use a
dictionary, or their BRAINS or something? This book doesn’t mention twitter
even once! Was it written in the middle ages? A Beginner’s Guide to Dying in
India
has been called ‘witty and poignant.’ Poignant? When was the last time
you saw an ultra-hip Gen Y scenester type the word poignant into their iphone?
Never. That’s when.

Hipster 

"Does 'poignant' have two umlauts or three?"

My main regret is that this book
took me three years to put together from having the first spark on the rooftop
on a hotel in the Himalayas to telling my publishers to ‘shove it’ when they
wanted me to tweak the final chapter so that it featured a sex scene occurring
in a helicopter as the heroes escaped the exploding casino. It makes me cry to
think of all the things I could have done in that time. I could have learned
jujitsu, how to juggle flaming chainsaws, or how to make a clarinet out of a carrot.

You
know, stuff that would impress girls, instead of sitting in front of a laptop
for weeks on end bathing in my own sweat and trying to think a better metaphor
than ‘more out of place than the pope at a sex convention.’ (Suggestions?)
I give this book sixteen
thumbs down. Which is slightly better than the rating I gave the Twilight
series, and slightly worse than the rating I gave for this guy’s moustache:

Moustache

"It's Movember all year round in my world bitches! PS: you can get the book here if you to write your own scathing review, or if you need something to hide your face from that creepy guy that always sits opposite from you on the bus. Yeah, you know the one I'm talking about."