22 September 2010

Sutra: Shaolin Monks

As a remarkable counterpoint to the Southside Festival on 18 September, on Sunday 19th we went at the encouragement of Patrick Pang, the Australian director of the Shaolin Temple to the Opera House in Sydney to see Sutra, about which I later wrote to Liz to say:
See in the short clip below that the Belgian-Moroccan choreographer is 'choreographing' or conducting the swordsman while the boy watches. The choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui spent three months with the Shaolin three years ago, has developed this project with them since. He remarked on how with a Belgian Flemish mother and Moroccan father he was always aware of being an individual, observing people 'living in their boxes', unaware. He had found that the Shaolin were, monks in a communist country, so much more open to new ideas and with a sense of freedom than many affluent, 'free', isolated, unhappy people in Europe. When the impresarios came and asked him "was this checked out by the government in China" he would answer "What is it that you think you are doing?" You see the use of boxes (by a sculptor) on the stage, for stunning effects as well as the sense in the choreographer's thoughts on life. The string group is behind the diaphanous backdrop. Wonderful music, the whole thing hypnotic, for about 70 minutes. Endorsement also of a life doing many things not in boxes  ... :-)

21 September 2010

Christine Anu at the Southside Festival

The Southside Festival on 18 September (see preceding post) concluded with a wonderful concert by Christine Anu. Click down below the photo to watch the movie! Please remember that it's bootleg recorded/photographed with available (negligible to glaring) light, with my iPhone only. And [oops] I missed the first several bars, my finger, chilled by a softdrink bottle, making no impression on the heat-sensitive record button. Oh yes, and next time I'll stand further away from the speakers to record!

20 September 2010

The Southside Festival at Coomaditchie Aboriginal community

The Southside Festival brings together the southern suburbs of Wollongong. Coomaditchie is an Aboriginal community, with also a cultural centre, in a place hitherto a bottom swamp land to which Aboriginal people in the region were shoved by white settlers.

The Festival on 18 September was a wonderfully warm and happy event, with two major events - a drama with circus elements and a concert by Christine Anu. Christine Anu's description of the event is here - copied below:

On Saturday 18th September 2010 from 5pm to 9pm  the Cowper street side of Coomaditchie lagoon will become an open air theatre to a spectacular event. Local artists and performers will tell an ancient dreaming story through a combination of narration, song, large scale puppetry, live percussion, stilt walking, fire sculpture, dance, screen projections and aerial performance.
Cumbangi– The Queen of the Reeds who featured in the 2007 Southside Festival  will be returning to Coomaditchie to check on the health of the lagoon.  While she is there she will tell the story of how the black swans got their feathers.  As is traditional at the Southside Festival the Wadi Wadi Mixed Tribe dancers will dance on specially prepared sand stage.
The theme of  year’s festival is ‘home’ . So in addition to the Black Swan dreaming story – we will all focus on the value of home. Many of the local community members have been working for the last few years to clean up Coomadichie Lagoon so that the black swans (and other species) can return home.  An integral part of the performance will be a giant nest – to represent home. Audience members will have had the opportunity to write and draw thoughts and messages of home onto calico banners in the weeks prior to and also on the day of the event and as part of the performance they will be called upon to “help build the nest”.
After the performance by local artists widely acclaimed singer songwriter Christine Anu, will be performing.
The Southside Festival is a FREE event with entertainment for the whole family. The festival celebrates culture and place.  “We focus on the richness of cultural diversity and the beauty of the local environment. “ says  Sue Leppan one of the festival organisers. The festival has been hosted at Coomaditchie Lagoon by local community organisations every second year since 2003.

Here are photos of the site, the Cumbangi play, and the concert. Also an MP3 recording of last two songs, regrettably the first song has the beginning chopped off!

The photos are with iPhone in the natural and eventually negligible light
– enjoy the impressions!

first a view down over the entertainment space, down to the lagoon

Helen with Sue, MC on the night and an organiser

The apparatus for trapeze artist later 

performers prepare

Here is the full meaning of multiculturalism 
NRMA sponsorship, Salvation Army organised, 
absolutely straight dinki-di Halal sausage sandwich coming up

and the show begins

concert in next post!

17 September 2010

sunset road photos

I cursed myself Wednesday, travelling to Wollongong, for once in the passenger seat, that I was passing amazing sunset scenes and had again left the camera at home. Then - doh - I remembered the trusty iPhone, which with its simple small lens and slow exposures does some marvellous things in moments like this. Click photos to enlarge, use back button to return.

Photos of Helen

We went on Wednesday to a dinner for Jennie George, retiring from parliament. Before we left, I had a moment to take photos of Helen with the iPhone. Pleased with results.

This second photo is with a painting Helen bought at the NAIDOC week exhibition in Nowra, 
painting by Aboriginal elder Auntie Marie Stewart, entitled Doonooch - local Aboriginal name for owl 
— the owl having also for Aborigines the reputation of wisdom