Three one act plays, written, rehearsed and presented all within 24 hours: it may not sound like it would reward high hopes, let alone exceed them, but it did. The stories were fresh, relevant, moving as well as funny at times, the performances committed, the theatre-craft well on the way. This was Red Hot Arts Central Australia’s 24 Hour Theatre, an early exercise of the organisation’s InQbator and presented as part of the Alice Desert Festival program. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.
“Running away to the circus” – the image is of escape, overthrow of the strictures of the adult-governed world. But what if the adults are completely on side? If they’re convinced that here lies the path to “truth, wisdom and knowledge”? This is the delightful prospect of joining Circus Dust. Story by KIERAN FINNANE. Photos and Video by ERWIN CHLANDA.
FULL STORY MODIFIED to include more photos, September 16, 2013, 10.15am.
It must rank among the best things the Alice Desert Festival has put on in its 13 years, for its key idea of enlivening our central public spaces after dark, erasing their normally anxious, shuttered and desolate state with sensual exuberance, open-hearted humour and welcome. The event was Dance Jam After Dark. It began at the entrance to the Fan Arcade where at the start of the 7pm performance last night a crowd of 50 or so spectators gathered round. By the end they'd been joined by hundreds. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. Video (click FULL STORY) by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Down-sized but definitely not out: the Alice Desert Festival sprang into life last night with the opening night parade restored to its joyful role in Alice Springs street life. The evening was warm and filled with the scent of flowering white cedars. People young and old, but especially those with little children, arrived in the mall from all directions to the sounds of a brass band drifting on the breeze. KIERAN FINNANE was there.
The stone walls and simple geometry of the Old Stuart Town Gaol last night became the canvas for a different kind of street art, known as "video architecture". Aptly named, it doesn't just look for a flat surface to mark or adorn, but actually responds to the form of the building, inviting you, creator or viewer, to re-imagine it.
Words by KIERAN FINNANE, pictures by ERWIN CHLANDA.
An on-going program of events – weekly or fortnightly – would attract more people into the CBD, supporting local business and creating a safer environment. The Town Council should be the instigator of such a program, employing a full-time events coordinator for the CBD, Councillor Eli Melky proposes. He won initial support for the move from his colleagues at last night's meeting. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: A section of Parsons Street transformed by 'video architecture', as part of the Alice Desert Festival (see separate story this issue). The activities of an events coordinator could involve more than performance.
"Yuendumu has seen its troubles / We don't need no more fighting / how about we, Warlpiri, start uniting?"
Three young hip-hop artists from Yuendumu went to the heart of the matter when they took to the stage on Saturday, as part of the line-up at The Hub, the "heart" of the Alice Desert Festival's program.
The music was mostly of a different flavour but the Desert Divas, who followed Red Sand in the program, were equally proud and hopeful: "We know where we come from / we know where we stand ... we're making our future / creating a change" went the lyrics of their group song. – KIERAN FINNANE
The Teenager and the Shark, installation by Drew Moynihan, partial view. In the background, a partial view of Kelly-Lee Hickey's Detritus Theory. Photo by Leonardo Ortega.
Two ways of drawing you in, as if from different worlds: with one you can imagine yourself on a windswept shore, seeking protection within the flimsy shelter you find there; with the other, there's the seduction of the curtained space you are invited to enter. Once inside, both engage you by the moving image. In one, it is you, the viewer, who moves as you take in the unfolding story, frame by frame. In the other, you remain still while video image and sound sweep you away.
Art is always experiential but very often viewers do not give themselves over to it. At Watch This Space in an exhibition called Shift two works excitingly create their own commanding space in which to be received. No question of a glance and moving on – come inside! KIERAN FINNANE reviews.
Crocodile meat and bush tomato were the "mystery" ingredients. Sun, smoke and dust went without saying.
The third annual Bushfoods "iron chef" competition was held last Sunday, at the Quandong Farm in Ilparpa Valley, where picnickers were welcomed by the Scales family. It was a somewhat challenging induction into cooking on an open fire for UK chef Chris Messenger, who'd never done it before. Suren Perera had, but often looked like he was longing for the cool stainless steel of his kitchen at the Barra on Todd.
They were both commended by judge Bec Gooderham, a former organiser of the competition, for doing "an amazing job" in the conditions. Her fellow judges Lisa Perry (Reality Bites) and Raelene Brown (Kungkas Can Cook), both experienced chefs, commented on the difficulties of cooking with crocodile meat as well as cooking over a fire or in a camp oven. "Regulating the heat is a challenge," said Brown, "it depends on the wood you use." KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Chris Messenger (foreground) and Suren Perera sweat it out in the Bushfoods "iron chef" competition. Event coordinator Clare Woods lends a hand with the fire.
Though the veteran designers of the Alice Desert Festival's Wearable Arts Awards have all but bowed out, the arts and the show live on. Certain names are now establishing themselves as ones to watch out for – such as Simone Kilian and Tina Tilhard – while names associated with different roles – such as Jen Standish-White and Mary Menotti – have emerged to reveal unsuspected talent. Edginess, provocation and humour were not to the fore this year, but refined skills were – in design, execution and performance. Many models did much more than strut – some expressed moments of intense drama and emotion, others revelled in the sensual experience of the adorned body and pulsating music. WORDS by KIERAN FINNANE, PICTURES by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Photo:Deliberately Lit by Clare Whitcombe (designer and model), inspired by last year's bushfires, winner of the Fantasia Award.
Video, in order: It's in the Bag by Alex Stephens; Tealirious Sirena by Tina Tilhard, performed by Sally Balfour; The Upside Down Tree by Kate Yoffa; Aquila Marirosa by Mary Menotti and Henry Smith; Coffee Anyone? by Simone Kilian, performed by Hamish McGauchie; Hot Head by Philomena Hali, performed by Melissa Zahoruijko; Top End Coast Line by Carol Phayer, modelled by Jaimee Eaton; Beneath the Surface by Leonie Oakes, performed by Courtney Summers; Angled by Simone Kilian, performed by Jasmine Ahwah; Duprada Dance Company; final parade of award winners.