Arts Features

Posted 8 Feb 2017 @ 3:32pm

Welcome to the BRAG's weekly rundown on what's hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases. Oscar season is in full swing - I hope you've tuned your heart strings, 'cause they're about to get a hecka workout.


This week, Denzel directs a heavy-hitter, two tales aim straight for the tear ducts, fathers tussle with sons and one ditzy lass fails to notice the key...

Posted 2 Feb 2017 @ 12:00pm

The circus is truly a timeless industry, with generation after generation delighting in the skill and showmanship of acrobats, clowns, animals and dancers.


There’s no sign of interest in the big top waning in the 21st century, and we’re seeing only more and more troupes emerge to deliver excitement en masse, incorporating new music and techniques with traditional aesthetics. ...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 4:09pm

On at least a surface level, it seems counter-intuitive to claim that celebrated stand-up Gregg Turkington is on the cutting edge of anything.


After all, his primary comedic creation – a sweaty, snivelling lout named Neil Hamburger – is deliberately retrograde. The joy of a Hamburger set stems from how distinctly out of fashion Turkington’s brand of comedy is – how awkward,...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 10:07am

Raw Comedy, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's annual open mic comedy competition, is back for another season.


The competition has a track record of unearthing some of Australia's best young comedy talent, with past entrants including Chris Lilley, Josh Thomas, Hannah Gadsby, Peter Helliar, Ronny Chieng, Celia Pacquola and more.


The New South Wales...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 9:43am

The Case For The Insect Diet


Slap bang in the middle of Naomi Klein’s startling book about the climate crisis, This Changes Everything, sits a clean break disguised as a threat. “I am convinced that climate change represents a historic opportunity,” Klein writes. “Yes, there will be things we will lose, whole industries that will disappear … [but] the thing about a crisis this...

Posted 31 Jan 2017 @ 1:40pm

Welcome to the BRAG's weekly rundown on what's hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases, and oh boy are there a lot of reasons to be a grouchy fella at this very mo.


As it's a quiet week, your bonus is a Netflix Original that I've thoroughly enjoyed, therefore you better thoroughly enjoy it or I'll come to your house and I will cut you.


Also, shout...

Posted 27 Jan 2017 @ 5:00pm

Throughout the ’90s, the most iconic moments of global media numbered Nelson Mandela being freed from prison, the death of Princess Di, the O.J. Simpson circus and the suicide of Kurt Cobain – personal stories.


Of course, this was also the era of the First Gulf War and the Oklahoma City bombing, so war and terrorism certainly weren’t unknown. But the terror of the previous few...

Posted 26 Jan 2017 @ 11:00am

The reality is that for a lot of folks out there, office work is inevitable.


Sometimes that ain’t so bad – those jerks at Pixar seem to have a pretty sweet deal – but peer behind the curtains of your favourite music label or theatre and, well, the commercial practicalities of bringing art to life can be rather humbling. Maintaining your sense of inspiration and creative...

Posted 25 Jan 2017 @ 4:00pm

Jackie Kennedy is stalking the White House like a ghost.


She is wiping her husband’s blood off her face, sobbing into a mirror. She and John are disembarking from a plane, the cries of the crowd are as soft and lulling as the sound of the sea. She is black-veiled and bitter, marching down a street seen around the world; face cast in iron. She is holding together John’s blown-...

Posted 25 Jan 2017 @ 9:28am

Welcome to the BRAG's weekly rundown on what's hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases. This is a goddamn glorious week, you guys. Look at this friggin' lineup!


The two most critically acclaimed flicks of the week are African-American stories with majority black casts; Batfleck has freed himself (momentarily) from the Justice League; a long-lost pariah returns with...

Posted 21 Jan 2017 @ 12:00pm

Carol Brady. Anjezë Bojaxhiu. Malory Archer.


The world has no shortage of famous mothers, yet few – in fact, none – have become so mythologised and cherished as Mary, mother of Jesus. 


Step beyond the New Testament and the Quran, and her legacy – cobbled together across various interpretations, speculations and faiths though it may be – is indisputable. From...

Posted 20 Jan 2017 @ 1:41pm

Event Cinemas George St kicks off its new season of In The House cult classics on Friday February 3.


Cult cinema cures every single ailment known to humankind.


Seriously though. The medicinal effects of genre film might not yet be properly understood, but all who have dedicated themselves to the art form...

Posted 19 Jan 2017 @ 5:11pm

Opportunity knocks for the next generation of musicians, producers and all other persons of the creative kin.


After all, what do most of us know of the performing arts without a little education? The answer is, not as much as we could. Now, the Academy of Music and Performing Arts (AMPA) is about to unveil a brand new campus...

Posted 18 Jan 2017 @ 6:22pm

If there’s any art form that has had to consistently fight back against misrepresentation and misinformation, it’s comedy.


There are still punters out there who think comedians make up their entire routines on the spot, effortlessly, and the stereotype of the stand-up as a laid-back layabout holds a surprisingly firm grip on contemporary thought.


That said,...

Posted 18 Jan 2017 @ 11:46am

You’d be forgiven for expecting Lion to be another foreign film drama with a predictable slumdog-rises-on-high plotline.


Yet despite the ideas planted by its preceding visuals, Lion is actually the incredible autobiographical adventure of Saroo Brierley.


At five years old, Brierley found himself lost at a train station in India. He fell asleep on a train and...

Posted 17 Jan 2017 @ 12:35pm

Welcome to the first of 2017's weekly rundowns on what's hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases. It's good to be back! Two films premiere this week, but I wouldn't dare omit my opinions on those that slipped under the holiday radar.


Four major studio features and one exciting new indie flick grace the page today, along with a genuine plea to avoid one of the big...

Posted 5 Jan 2017 @ 8:00am

If you were of the opinion that gin is a nasty, dry and bitter alcohol to be swilled about only by our elders at stuffy gatherings, then think again. 


The juniper-based drink is making the rounds onstage thanks to Maeve Marsden, who is on a mission to share her love affair with gin through song. Mother’s Ruin is a cabaret created by Marsden that revolves around her favourite...

Posted 3 Jan 2017 @ 8:00am

The connection between contemporary dance and football might not be entirely apparent at first glance. 


After all, dance these days tends to be thought of as belonging to the exulted uppermost crust of hoity- toity delights – all the way up there with such distinctly middle-class pleasures as fox hunting and fine dining. Football (or soccer), by contrast, is often frowned upon...

Posted 2 Jan 2017 @ 8:00am

Most theatre entreats you to take your seat, to surrender your imagination for however brief a time and let the performance wash over you – there are worse ways to spend a night out. 


And while Kaleidoscope is theatre – in part – it is a style of performance you’re unlikely to have seen before. The story of Ethan Hugh – who, at age four, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome –...

Posted 1 Jan 2017 @ 8:00am

For some, playwright Nathan Maynard’s description of his new work The Season as a “muttonbird story” might be a little confusing. 


After all, the history and importance of the muttonbird – a dark-feathered species of shearwater mainly found around Tasmania and New Zealand – is yet to be comprehensively covered in mainstream channels, and the significant role the animal plays in...

Posted 31 Dec 2016 @ 8:00am

Dallas Dellaforce is busier than ever.


The cabaret, drag and stage show performer otherwise known as Daniel Squires Cater is in charge of costuming for Briefs: The Second Coming, an upcoming production that aims to combine the rich history of musical theatre with some deliciously risqué and renegade flair. As you’d imagine, being in charge of all that fabric is proving to be a...

Posted 28 Dec 2016 @ 3:55pm

As part of Sydney Festival 2017, Campbelltown Arts Centre will host the first major exhibition of art by Myuran Sukumaran, a member of the so-called ‘Bali Nine’ who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Indonesia.


During Sukumaran’s incarceration, he was visited by award-winning Australian artist Ben Quilty, who took the prisoner under his wing and taught him the art...

Posted 28 Dec 2016 @ 3:41pm

Combining storytelling with a four-course meal, Hakawati – an Arabic word for ‘teller of tales’ – is unlike any dinner conversation you’ve ever heard.


As director Wayne Harrison explains, this intriguing addition to the Sydney Festival program will sate all appetites.


“What makes a good story?” Harrison muses. “I like the traditional answer, which is to have a...

Posted 28 Dec 2016 @ 3:32pm

“Aww, you little fucko!” This – instead of the usual, “Hello, Sam speaking,” or even just the plain old “hello” – is how Sam Simmons answers his phone.


If you didn’t know Simmons or his work, it would catch you completely unawares. Coming from perhaps the country’s finest comic in the realm of surrealism, absurdism and the avant-garde, however, it’s just another part of his...

Posted 28 Dec 2016 @ 3:28pm

“I love deadlines,” author Douglas Adams once said.


“I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by.” If there’s anyone who has become acquainted with the peculiar noise made by missed targets, it’s Justin Kurzel, the South Australian director in charge of wrangling the Hollywood monster known as Assassin’s Creed.


“I only finished [the film] last week, so it...

Posted 28 Dec 2016 @ 3:25pm

For the 26th year running, the Flickerfest International Short Film Festival will once again take over Bondi Pavilion in January to bring Sydney the best of the brief, screening short films under the stars.


It’s an exciting time for Bronwyn Kidd, with the
 2017 iteration marking one year shy of her 20th anniversary as director and 15 years since Flickerfest picked up Academy...

Posted 21 Dec 2016 @ 10:05am

Welcome to the BRAG's weekly rundown of what's hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases. After Disney's surprisingly divisive Star Wars effort (which I dug), the Boxing Day Onslaught has finally arrived: the cinematic equivalent of...

Posted 15 Dec 2016 @ 1:51pm

Christmas is now days away, and the shops are busier than they’ve ever been with people hunting for gifts for their loved ones.


And let’s face it; some family members and friends are a little harder to buy for than others. But don’t stress: we’ve got four great gift ideas for that special someone in your life, right here – whether they’re the indoorsy type, they prefer the...

Posted 15 Dec 2016 @ 12:59pm

Sex, Lynch And Video Games is a difficult work to explain.


For a start, it’s not even technically a ‘work’: it’s works, plural – three of them, comprising separate productions conceived by the celebrated artist, musician and classical composer Nicole Lizée. “Two of the pieces were written in 2016,” Lizée explains. “Both 8-Bit Urbex and Lynch Études. The third piece is Karappo...

Posted 15 Dec 2016 @ 12:26pm

Patricia Cornelius talks the way she writes: colourfully, with an occasional splash of language blue enough to make the sheltered wince.


It would perhaps be foolish to expect the mind behind plays called Shit and Slut to communicate in any other way. But for Cornelius, cursing isn’t about eliciting cheap shock value, or merely trying to sustain the attention of strangers – it’s...