fringe: dead end

dead end
Dead End is, at time, a very difficult show to watch.

At times it felt all too real, so it actually became hard to respond to it as a performance.

The show really starts before it starts... everyone you see is playing a part and none of them really break character at any point, even after the show is "over".

And it really felt like we'd wandered down a back alley (which we literally had, since it takes place right at the end of Porters Lane just off Pultney Street) and been whisked into this slightly nightmarish, fairly creepy reality.

A hulking brute takes your tickets... drinks and popcorn are available from a young man who has an air of sideshow alley about him... the young ringmaster in his somewhat ill-fitting suit simpers and smiles and greets the audience, promenading one of his equally young performers on his arm.

But even before you enter the dead end alley to take one of the collection of mismatched and orphaned chairs you can see that there are cracks in this already unhinged and slightly dangerous world.

And as the show progresses those cracks get wider and wider as the ringmaster shows his true colours and the four female performers rebel, acquiesce, and suffer through his abuse.

That's actually what made it really, really hard to watch.

If the performers had been equally male and female it might not have been so bad... but to watch what is essentially the circus equivalent of domestic violence made the ringmaster from a simpering buffoon into a loathsome character and I think caused a number of people in the audience to feel uncomfortable.

I know that there was one point where an older lady in the audience boo'ed the ringmaster after he'd done something particularly horrible, and I did join in, although we were the only two.

It felt wrong to just sit there as an observer... not interceding when young women are clearly being abused.

And without spoiling the end... I did feel conflicted about clapping at the end... while we'd seen a lot of good circus performance, it felt like we were somehow showing approval for the abuse and the finale of the show.

It also ends up being more about that darker story than it does about the circus performances. There are times when your eye is more drawn to the argument going on behind the performer than the performer themselves, which is a little bit counterproductive at times.

It was also a shame because while a lot of the circus tricks feel fairly basic (I'm not saying they're not difficult, but something about them makes them feel easier than they actually are) a number of them are performed incredibly well.

I'm not completely sure whether the storyline was used to cover up for somewhat fumbled tricks or if the tricks are fumbled on purpose, which would be the more difficult of the two.

Stepping outside the world of the story, there was some trouble with the sound system (which I think pretty much consists of a CD, an iPod and a speaker) where the music was distorting.

And some of the story of the relationships between the four female characters got a bit lost/confused at times... like why was the blonde in the red dress so angry at the juggling girl?

An interesting look into relationships both inside and outside of the world of circus, although one that could probably do with some work-shopping and refining by the young cast, because it has the potential to be something really powerful if they can just boil down what they want to say and what the best way to say it is.

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fringe: another point of view

another point of view
Another Point Of View by After Dark Theatre wasn't quite was I was expecting... I guess I was expecting something a little darker, something with a little bit more of a story perhaps.

What I got was something fairly quirky and more comedic than I expected.

Don't get me wrong, it was circus/physical theatre performed really well, and it wasn't a bad show by any means but I've seen a number of shows in this genre that captured my attention more than this did.

And I don't know if it was because it was two female performers (which I knew going in) or not, but there seemed to be more posing than I like in my circus shows... although maybe that just says more about me than the show.

It was a little slow in spots too... or maybe it just felt that way because certain things went on a touch too long.

Of the two performers I think maybe the blonde was the better all round performer, although the brunette was certainly talented.

To be honest I'm feeling somewhat ambivalent about this show... it was neither horribly bad, nor was it amazingly good... it was somewhere in the middle.

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random tradie hotness

This week's Random Hotness is of the Australian "tradie" variety and comes from the Tradie Apprentice Tumblr (by way of the #tradie hashtag on Instragram).

The tradie in question is Cody, a refrigeration mechanic from Townsville who also appears to be something of an acrobat... and a sink-hider-underer...

cody the tradiecody the tradie

cody the tradiecody the tradie

cody the tradiecody the tradie

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fringe: leo

circle of eleven's gravity defying leo
Let's get one thing out in the open, right from the start, Leo is brilliant!

Which is only to be expected really, since Circle of Eleven brought us Soap last year, which was also brilliant!

It's also one of those shows which either partially defy description or else just has to be seen to be believed.

It's a simple enough premise, there's the world of the performer, Tobias Wegner, on stage, on a set with a red right hand wall.

Then there's the world that exists within the projection screen on the other side of the stage... the world where the floor is red and everything is turned 90 degrees.

And you watch as Wegner starts to explore both the red wall and red floor worlds at the same time which is often hilarious.

I think it may be one of those shows that may be better viewed from somewhere other than the first ten rows... you kind of need to be far enough back that your eyes can see both the screen world and the real world at the same time. We were sitting in the front row and there was a lot of looking left then looking right, and I'm sure we missed things in both worlds because of that.

At times you forget that Wegner doing something "ordinary" in the world of the red floor, actually means that he's doing something extraordinary in the world of the red wall.

Even though you know exactly how he's doing everything in the world of the red floor, your brain still behaves like it's real, so when he appears to be defying gravity, you buy it even though you can see him lying on the floor in the real world.

Then Wegner brings out the chalk... and creates a world within the red floor world... brilliantly, given that for the most part he's laying on his side or stretching while keeping one foot on the floor while drawing.

And then they start playing with time and everything gets a little... dark.

I won't spoil it by going into any more detail than that, but suffice to say that that section held the audience spellbound.

But when the show did finally end, there was thunderous applause and much stomping of feet.

It's just that good!

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fringe: dungeons and improvisation adventure show

wolfpack productions dungeons and improvisation adventure show
You never quite know what you're going to get with a improvisation show... especially one that bills itself as "an improvisation show inspired by 'Dungeons and Dragons' using dice and audience suggestions to detail a journey of a hero fighting against a villain to save the land from tyranny".

And what you would get from the Dungeons and Improvisation Adventure Show would depend very much on what you and your fellow audience members put in.


Before the show we were asked to write down a name, a creature and an object on three pieces of paper and place them into the trifurcated box on the edge of the stage.

Then these slips of paper are selected by Joshua the lovely and mischievous facilitator who uses them for every character, prop, twist and turn of the story.

My personal contributions were "Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy" (it's mentioned in an episode of Buffy and was the first thing to come into my head), a pygmy owl (for Owlgirl at work) and a pair of magical underpants (because, underpants!). Sadly only the underpants were actually selected during the show.

What we did end up with was a half invisible shower monster called Captain Sparkle, an elephant called Lady Garden, a singer called Shaniqua-Neigh-Na, a hippogriff called Argyle, an eyeball, a harpsicord, a wizard's key, a dude called Sir Richard Longshaft III, a fairy queen/golem, the power of Freddy Mercury and a gnome called John Howard.

It was that kind of evening.

I couldn't really even tell you what happened... there was something about a gnome constructed airship and some sort of plot that I was never completely clear about to make hippogriff the only viable form of air travel or possibly putting on a magic show, an elephant that didn't like being called fat who was either the daughter of a fairy queen or a deluded golem depending on who you listened to, a really nasty ethereal creature and a joke about golden showers...

I think it was Craig who was portraying the half invisible shower monster, Captain Sparkle who totally won the show though... his character got more and more perverse and consumed by a cavalcade of physical ticks as the show progressed, but all he would need to do was come on stage and roll one eye around while licking the side of his mouth and the crowd, myself included, were in fits of laughter. He truly was brilliant... and he supposedly had only just woken up and really didn't want to be a main character tonight.

I'm so glad he was though.

The other stand out was, I think (again, I can't remember the performers real names and most of them don't look anything like their photos in the program), Curtis, as the Machiavellian hippogriff.

Sure there were some points at which the story came off the rails, and some of the performers were better at improvising their way out of seemingly impossible scenarios than others, but all in all I had a great time and laughed a lot.

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lego ninjago: kai's fire mech (aka usagi)

lego ninjago - kai's fire mechlego ninjago - or aka usagi, the red rabbit
I'm totally blaming Target for this one... they have a 20% off sale on all of their Lego this weekend and when I went shopping this afternoon for some new jeans I stopped off to have another look at the Lego selection.

I love all of the Ninjago mechs, and before I decided on Lego R2D2 as my major set for last year, I did consider a couple of the mechs...

So given that this one was small, relatively cheap and bright red, I couldn't resist it.

lego ninjago - aka usagi mech partslego ninjago - kai and the stone army scout
Interestingly, unlike some of the photos I've seen online, my version of the box/instructions for this set doesn't have a name on it anywhere... so I decided that it looked quite like a rabbit, so renamed it as Aka Usagi, or Red Rabbit.

So it was a little disappointing to discover it's real name is, the unimaginative Kai's Fire Mech.

That's be Kai in the red hood... and although the little short dude is supposed to be a scout of the bad guy army (he also has a cool little crossbow), I like the idea of him being Kai's little helper/man servant... and they get up to wacky adventures!

lego ninjago - it begins, a combination of regular lego and hero factorylego ninjago - those red pieces would have been better if they were printed, but the stickers look pretty good
I have a feeling it would be really easy to convert the Fire Mech into some kind of jet plane or boat or racer... all the component pieces are there, although you'd have to discard most of the Hero Factory pieces.

It would have been nice if the curved red pieces with the flames on them were actually printed, but instead they're stickers.... which is always a pain because even when I was younger and had little fingers I still had trouble getting the stickers in exactly the right place.

lego ninjago - then some armslego ninjago - the hand details... one for blasting and one for grabbing
My favourite part of this mech are these hands...specifically the hand shaped hand, although the "could you get any more barrels on that blaster" hand is pretty impressive too.

lego ninjago - the hands in placelego ninjago - the underside of the hand piece, with control panel sticker
I also really love the control panel sticker on the inside of the hand... it seems like this mech can do just about anything... fire, fire supression, water, ice, electricity, radiation, explosives... and a phone.

What more could you ask for really?

lego ninjago - back detail... also, that sticker is hell crookedlego ninjago - the finished product... i didn't realise the "ears" were on backwards though
This rear detail shot shows just how incredibly bad I am at putting stickers on Lego pieces... I thought it was okay, but when I looked at the photo I realised it was SO crooked...

I'm also not sure if the sticker is supposed to be of some little red eyed creature that's living inside this vent... or it they're just supposed to be little red power lights... maybe it's supposed to be a jet engine so the mech can fly.

I didn't realise that I'd actually put the gold "rabbit ears" on backwards when I took these two shots... it was only when I was looking at the box again that I realised. I do like the fact that the "ears" are actually samurai swords.

And the giant flame sword (from the finished photo) looks really cool... although it would be nice if there was some way to attach it to the back of the mech for when it's not in use.

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lifescouts: animal month

These are my next four (numbers 7-10) Lifescouts badges. February is Animal Month... so all of these badges are animal related.

Earlier this week I got the two physical badges I ordered... they're really well made and have a nice weight to them. I do kind of wish they said "Lifescouts" and maybe the name of the badge on the back, but I'm guessing that would have cost a whole bunch more.

Now I really want to get all of my badges as real badges... although that may have to wait a while... I'm currently trying to reduce the number of things in my house, but maybe later.

lifescouts - zoo

Whenever I think about trips to the Zoo there is always one trip that instantly comes springing to mind.

When I was in Year 7, my teacher at the time (who I think was a bit of an old hippy) organised for us to spend three days at the Adelaide Zoo doing a project on our favourite animal and having some behind-the-scenes experiences.

It was fun because we got to hang out all on our own watching our individual animals for a chunk of the day.

Because I was somewhat obsessed with China and pandas at the time, and because (given that we're talking about 1986 or so) the Zoo didn't have any giant pandas, I "made do" with the red panda. And thoroughly fell in love with them as a result.

Even though red pandas aren't actually pandas. And, brief side note, the logo for the Firefox browser is a red panda, not an actual fox.

But I digress.

The other main thing I remember about the excursion (other than the fact the weather was quite hot) is that we all broke up into groups early one morning before the zoo was actually open and all went off to do behind-the-scenes stuff. A couple of other students and I got to tour the Nocturnal House and watch the animals behind fed. And from memory most of the food was fruit and bugs given that the animals are all quite small. I do remember the fennec foxes running up to the door and waiting for their food.

There must have been other things that we did given that we were there for a few days, but I honestly don't really remember any of it now.

I do know that a couple of the boys in my class "rescued" the baby mice they had put out for one of the big snakes in the Education Centre... although I think they died before we got back to school, so that wasn't really very successful.

Nowadays I much prefer going to the zoo with my camera and my big ass telephoto lens.

See also...

lifescouts - horse riding
Horse Riding

I've only ever been horse riding once.

I think it was supposed to be a double dating thing back when I was dating Albania and Ludo was dating Lownee... but then I broke up with Albania and I think Lownee was busy, so it just ended up being me and Ludo.

I can't even remember where the place was, other than I know that it was what I would class as "in the country" (and given that we had a rule at the time that specified that anywhere more than 6km from where you lived was "Woop Woop", this was definitely in Woop Woop).

I don't really remember a whole hell of a lot about the riding... I know that I had a bit of trouble with the whole "rocking motion" thing that you're supposed to do... I think I got it eventually though. Fortunately I don't think there was any trotting or cantering, but even so, it was an odd thing to get used to.

The main thing that I remember, other than having incredibly sore inner thighs the following couple of days, as well as some serious sunburn on the back of my neck, was the moment when my horse decided to do its own thing.

We were crossing from the normal path over a little gully (I can't remember if it there was water in it or not) and up a trail to some higher ground on the other side. I think there was a little bit of a line up to go across and I don't know why, but my horse suddenly decided that it wasn't going to wait for all the other horses, it could make its way over just fine without any damn trail.

So it launched itself down the slope, and then tackled the incline... but because there wasn't a trail, and the incline was fairly steep (at least I remember it that way), the horse really needed to work hard to get up the other side. And luckily when the horse threw its head back to gather steam and I threw my body forward to prevent myself from falling backwards out of the saddle I think I must have moved to the right slightly. If I hadn't I'm pretty sure the horse's neck would have broken my nose.

It's one of those moments that when you remember it felt like it was happening over a long period of time, but which in actuality would have been a couple of seconds, if that. It didn't scare me off riding though, I just haven't ever had another opportunity.

lifescouts - snake holding
Snake Holding

I blogged about the first (and currently only) time I held a snake back in 2010, but since 80% of the post isn't about snakes, I'll include the relevant bit here...

Ma and I had gone to the Goodwood Markets in November 2010 and while Ma was looking at girly things I gravitated over to the Animals Anonymous stand to pet the tame Tawny Frogmouth... so soft and such pretty eyes! And then I realised they were letting people hold the Centralian Carpet Python... so I had to have a go.

I'd never actually held a snake before, not because it freaks me out, I've just never had the opportunity... and I have to say that I liked it a lot! It was a big snake, at least a couple of metres long, and quite heavy against the back of my neck, but it was a comforting weight. And the snake was quite content to just flatten itself against my body and take advantage of my body heat.

I ended up just standing there stroking the snake (and yes, I'm aware of how dirty that sounds) for ages. Snakes are a weird texture... the scales were very smooth but at the same time because the scales are all individual the whole snake felt "ribbed". And the best description I can give for what the body of the snake felt like was like holding a leg of lamb... that's not quite right... but I could feel the spine and the rest of the snake just felt like muscle wrapped in the ribbed skin.

I totally loved it though... it was so awesome!

I really would like the opportunity to do it again... and although I don't think I could deal with owning a snake myself (the feeding aspect mainly) the idea of owning a snake isn't completely unappealing.

Pet Owning

When I was a little kid (I'm guessing it would have been Year 2 or 3... so I would have been about 7 or 8) my teacher set all of us a task of writing up our Christmas list (it must have been a slow day for education, either that or it was some sort of writing/spelling exercise).

My best friend at the time and I both had very, very short lists.

All my list said was "Kitten" and all his list said was "Puppy".

I didn't get a kitten for Christmas, that year or any other year for that matter.

There was the story of Mouja, but he was only "my cat" for about 12 hours. His photo is still on my fridge though.

All of the pets that I have really owned have been pretty easily contained and fairly low maintenance. There was a blue budgerigar called Beauty, I'm not completely sure what happened to her, but then there was another green budgerigar, Pretty Boy, we inherited from a friend of Ma's (and I didn't name him unfortunately).

I used to let him out in my room and let him fly around and generally hang out with me for a while. And once his leg got tangled in the cloth I was using to get him back into his cage and he broke his little leg.

They don't put little casts on a bird's leg when they break them, they just give you some drops to put in their water and you have to hope for the best.

Eventually Pretty Boy ended up going to live in a long triangular aviary in the classroom of the same teacher from the Zoo story. At least he had more room and other birds to hang out with.

My only other pets were a long line of goldfish that lived for varying lengths of time.

And of course, as usually happens, the fish that you really feel the least attachment to is the one that outlasts all the others (and as an aside, his name was Jaws because I once watched him suck the eyeball out of one of those goggly eyed fish... gross). Jaws eventually went to live in a friend's outdoor pond... I couldn't bring myself to just flush him, but he was the last fish left in the tank and he just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, so she put him in her pond.

For all I know he could still be there.

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fringe: macbeth's witches

macbeth's witches
I always knew that this show had the potential to be horribly bad...but it was the only thing in the Fringe program this year that had anything to do with Macbeth, and one of only a very small number of shows that were in any way Shakespeare related.

However it didn't even manage to live up to the incredibly low expectations that I had for it.

It was worse than Eventyr, it was worse than Pirate Rapsody and it was worse than World War Wonderful.

It was without a doubt, the worse Fringe show that I've ever seen... no, actually, it was the worst show I've ever seen, period.

This show shouldn't have been called Macbeth's Witches, it should have been called Shakti Has Delusions of Grandeur For Forty Minutes.

I think part of the reason that I found this so horrible (other than the fact that it was), is my love for Shakespeare's Macbeth... they took something I love and in using it's name they violated it so completely by association.

If it had just been the three Asian women dancing as the Witches, then I could have survived... I would have probably said that it was a little dull, and what they were doing was only dancing in the most casual definition, but I wouldn't have hated it so much.

But I knew as soon as Shakti (that's her in the photo) lurched down the centre aisle in a tight purple vinyl dress and chunky red shoes carrying a whip that the show was doomed and if I'd been closer to the door or had been able to get out without walking across the performance space, I would have seriously considered walking out.

And it didn't help that Shakti was using a microphone to screech, slur and ham her way through patches of dialogue from Macbeth with both a microphone volume that was too loud and over music that was too loud, especially considering the size of the venue. If the music had been lower then the dialogue could have been spoken live without the distortion of the sound system.

But nothing would have saved the dialogue from Shakti's horrible, over the top interpretation of it. I know those words, I've heard those words performed by dozens of actors... and they've never sounded so incredibly amateur and hammy.

And as I said, what both Shakti and her three Witches were doing was hardly even dancing. Some of it was more like repeated tai chi to music, but most of what Shakti was doing wasn't even that.

I'm not even sure what she was doing on the stage for the last ten minutes though, because she came out in a kimono and then stripped that off to reveal what can only be described as a lot of black straps and far too little fabric. And once that happened I just stopped watching her.

Now if Shakti has been 20, that might have been okay... I'm not a fan of the female form flaunted like so much raw meat, but it could have been passable. However Shakti has to be pushing 50 at the bare minimum... and trust me, I saw more than the bare minimum of her, and I really, really didn't want to.

Nobody needs to see that. Nobody.

And if you are going to dress like a middle-aged bondage stripper, at least get a bikini wax first.

Do not, under any circumstances, go to see this show... avoid it like the plague, tell all of your friends to avoid it like the plague, stop complete strangers in the street and tell them not to see it.

Although on the plus side there is only one more session tomorrow.

This is officially now the new benchmark for things that I go to see... if I see something that's really bad, I'll be able to say "Well, at least it wasn't as bad as Macbeth's Witches"!

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another pre fringe saturday shopping

some passing ink and a great ass at my supermarket
This week was quite a bit like last week in that we had a whole day to fill in before a Fringe show.

I can't say that it was as successful as last week though... although we did manage to waste some time.

We didn't really rush anything... we did a lot of wandering around at the supermarket and then at Target afterwards before coming back here.

Since the weather was on the hot side again we wanted somewhere with a fair number of shops and that was air-conditioned... but we'd already done Marion.

So we settled on Tea Tree Plaza... and I have to say, there are far more bogans per square foot there than at Marion... or maybe there are just far, far, far less hot dudes.

Either way it wasn't much of an excursion, but it did fill some time in.

Although I was kind of annoyed that while both Myer and Target had Lego sets at 20% off, the only set I'm currently interested in wasn't in either store. Not that I really need it, and not that I would necessarily have ended up buying it... but it would have been nice to have the option.

After we'd grabbed some lunch we headed back to my place and kinda sat around doing not very much and watching old episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine until it was time to go to the Fringe show.

More on that shortly, but it will soon become apparent why we both came out of the show irritated and I think I ranted all the way down the street until we got to Chuckwagon 175 for dinner.

When we arrived the guy behind the counter made us feel very welcome, although we were the only people in the place at the time, and while it has a somewhat unfinished feel, it's got a nice atmosphere.

And the food was pretty good... I'm not going to say it was great, it's probably the third best burger I've had this week behind Burger Theory and Well Hung and Tender, although it did fall apart a bit... and I shouldn't have gone for the one with avocado, I was expecting something like Burger Theory's Shizzle Burger from the Art Burger series... and it wasn't that at all.

But the Portabello chips are really nice, and I haven't had onion rings like that since Ma used to make them when I was a kid.

So not perfect, but worth another go.

And now I'm half watching Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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photo friday: by the letters

ship of fools, tamarama
This week has been brought to you by the letter F for Fringe shows, by the letter S for sleep deprivation, by the letter T for travel plans and by the letter U for unexpected sexual encounter.

Fortunately tonight is a Fringe-free night given that I've seen four shows in the last three days and for two of those days I didn't get to bed much before 1am. Actually I think from Saturday to Wednesday I only managed to get to bed after midnight. Granted Wednesday night was entirely my own fault (see also, the letter U).

But I'm currently 30% of the way through my list of Fringe shows, although I'm really tempted to squeeze in a visit to see one of Sound and Fury's other shows "Testaclese & Ye Sack of Rome" since I had so much fun at Dirty Fairy Tales, but we'll have to see how I feel.

afternoon tea, taronga zoo

I do have a tendency to forget from year to year that one of the greatest strengths of the Fringe, that it brings people out into the city to enjoy a wide range of entertainment, is also one of the downsides for me... because you get a whole lot of people that you would never normally cross paths with out in the world, and then you add alcohol to that mix.

It's not everyone, but there's usually one group at anything I go to that just makes me roll my eyes and go "really?". And that's just the people going to the same shows as me, there's the random people who drink too much at the Garden of Unearthly Delights on top of that (although mostly I avoid the Garden as much as possible later in the evenings and on weekends).

Urgh... people.

koi swarm, darling harbour
But other than other people, I'm having a great time at the Fringe. I also seem to be the go to person for people to ask Fringe show advice of as soon as I tell them that I'm going to 20 shows. Yes, I'm going to a lot of things, but that doesn't mean that anything that I think is good will be the same as what you think is good.

The people I work with asked me for some recommendations before the Fringe started (and I'm giving Rockchick updates the day after on what's good and what's not), but one of the randoms in the crowd last Saturday asked me for tips, and one of the guys from the Burger Theory truck (I think he's new, or I just haven't seen him previously) asked me on Wednesday night. At present I'm directing people to Dirty Fairy Tales, Knock Off and the show that I saw previously by Gravity and Other Myths.

bat wings, sydney
The beginning of this week was also about travel plans. At last Ma and I are heading back to Sydney in April... yaaaay! We've booked rooms in a somewhat fancier hotel which Ma managed to get for a much cheaper price even than what I remember being on the website (or at least, not the price that I was looking at). And it's only down the road and around the corner from the place we've stayed previously, which means it's pretty centrally located.

I also did a somewhat random Google search for "sydney april" on Monday and discovered that they're playing the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Curse of the Black Pearl at the Opera House with a full orchestra conducted by Richard Kaufman. And since Ma hasn't been to the Opera House other than the tour we did on our first trip (and I've only been to the Drama Theatre), and it's only on for two performances, both of which are while we're in Sydney, it very much seemed to be destiny.

pastel bloom, sydney botanical gardens
This time around I want to get out of the Sydney CBD a little more (they'll be a day of that though, we need to go to all the stores we always go to in Sydney)... I've been meaning to check out Newtown the last couple of trips, and we definitely want to go to the Crumpler clearance store which just happens to be in Newtown. And I want to check out the Mays Lane Project (or if it's not an actual project anymore, then at least go and check out all of the graffiti) which isn't that far away from Newtown.

Maybe this time we'll do Manly instead of Bondi, so we can ride the ferry around instead of Bondi because it involves a ferry ride as opposed to a bus ride. And of course we need to do the Rocks Market on Friday/Saturday.

So any advice on places to go and things to do in either Newtown or Manly is gratefully accepted.

ghost patrol threads, cockatoo island
It also appears that 2013 may very well be the year when I finally have sex with all those guys who I've been playing internet chat ping-pong with for years and years. It'd already happened twice so far this year (one more successfully than the other) and then on Wednesday night I was playing ping-pong with one guy but had a message pop up for a guy I've been talking to every now and again since April 2011 on another app and the next thing I know he's standing in my bathroom doorway (thankfully I'd unlocked the door and he came right in).

Was it great sex... well it's not making it into the top ten (although he's probably amongst the top ten of guys with great bodies that I've ever had sex with), partially I think because it was late, I was tired and weirdly, because he did just arrive before I was expecting him and it didn't quite feel really real. Plus there's always the issue that guys who aren't good kissers or who aren't interested in kissing don't rev my motor, to coin a phrase.

predator, taronga zoo
And then the guys that I'd really love to get together with again are pretty much always the ones who completely disappear, whereas the ones I'm either ambivalent about or not interested in are the ones who tend to keep coming back. Case in point, Best Sex Of My Life Guy... saw him online for the first time in forever, messaged him, no response. Typical.

I feel like I'm suddenly sharing a lot of stuff about my sex life on the blog all of a sudden... maybe it's because I finally have one again... maybe 2013 is also the year of sexual escapade sharing... or possibly just means that I'll be having more sex.

We can only hope.

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fringe: the breakfast club

little red productions presents the breakfast club
"You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at 7 o'clock this morning. We were brainwashed."

The Breakfast Club is one of the touchstone movies for kids who grew up in the 80's. Even though the five characters never leave the school they each go on a journey and come out at the other end as different, and hopefully better people.

Little Red Productions manage to translate that feeling fairly successfully to a more updated setting and modern youth, all within the space of an hour... even though I did find myself comparing the production against the movie at almost every turn.

That's not to say that there weren't issues. Possibly the largest of which was the fact that the radio mikes that each of the actors was wearing was either giving almost no sound or would go soft, loud, soft, loud depending on how the actors moved their heads.

There was also a section from the end of the movie that has been moved, for no apparent reason, to the middle of the play. And it felt out of context, both from the fact that it clearly doesn't go there, but also because the characters are at two completely different points in their journeys and to take their interactions at that latter point of the story and shove that scene before the more cathartic release scene that was still to come made for a somewhat tonally unbalanced version of the story.

It's hard not to judge each of the roles against the movie, but Matthew Farrand's performance as Principal Vernon is probably the weakest of the cast and lacks that menace and aggregation that Paul Gleason brought to the movie. It also wasn't helped by the fact that I think we had the worst of all of the microphones.

The gender switching casting of Dora Abraham as Brianna (the role of Brian, the Brain in the original), although at times a little over the top, didn't bother me that much, and the scene where Abraham describes what she did that landed her in detention genuinely brought a tear to my eye. It does however create a whole different dynamic of that character's relationships with most of the rest of the cast, particularly the role of Bender, since there feels like there's much less danger of a physical confrontation because she's female.

Speaking of Bender however, Patrick Livesey is truly spellbinding to watch as the Criminal.

Yes, it doesn't hurt that he's a very attractive young man, however his performance as Bender is incredibly difficult to tear your eyes away from. He does have one of the best roles in the play, as Bender is the catalyst for everything that happens throughout the story, but Livesey brings such life and energy to the role and never faltered, even when he accidentally cut his hand on his character's knife early in the play.

He's definitely an actor to watch as I can see him going far, he seems to have the perfect mix of talent, looks and charisma to make a name for himself. In fact, at the end of the play I couldn't help thinking that he'd make a really intense Macbeth.

Sophia Webb as Allison, the Basketcase, does well with what is a largely overlooked or easily missed role given that she really doesn't say very much for the first half of the story. But there are a few moments early on where she finds a moment to hold her own with a look or a gesture.

However I'm not sure how much that her monologue is necessary... in the movie she's a mysterious character, you never know very much about her other than what she eventually chooses to say, and even then you're never sure if she's telling the truth. While Webb is perhaps a little too pretty to be that overlooked "every girl" she is still a recognisable archetype and I think that comes across without the extra dialogue.

Angus Giles as Andrew, the Athlete, is sometimes a little too precise with his speech so his dialogue can sound a little too stage-y and a bit fake, although overall he makes for a solid Andrew and his interaction with Abraham on the detention scene was pretty much spot on.

Lastly Caitlin Pudney as Claire, the Princess again reflects a believable stereotype, although her character may not be far enough "fashion forward" or flawless as she could be.

There's also an element of the movie that was missing here in that as the characters go on their journey together they start to remove layers of their clothing as the layers of their armour and division between each other drop away, culminating in the Claire/Allison makeover scene at the end. And given that the play at times moves past those kind of scenes fairly quickly, it could have been an effective way to reinforce that journey.

Especially since there are the addition of some "dance/movement" (and according to the program, Brechtian gestus, which I had to look up) scenes towards the end that seemed a little too... abstract and unconnected. I think I got where they were going with those sequences, but I'm not completely convinced they added that much... although the scene where they're "running through the halls" is well done.

Overall though, it was an enjoyable production. There were moments of humour and pathos coming both from the source material and the casts' interpretations, it's just a shame that they couldn't have perhaps pushed it a little further.

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random tub hotness

Combine photographer TJ Scott, the men of the TV show Spartacus, a bathtub and Breast Cancer research and what do you have?

Today's Random Hotness, part of TJ's In The Tub series of photos, that's what.

These photos feature, in no particular order, Pana Hema Taylor, Todd Lasance, Jason Hassell, Liam McIntyre, Dan Feuerriegel and Christian Antidormi.

You can view the full size shots (in amongst a large number of naked ladies) on TJ's Flickr.

spartacus boys in the tubspartacus boys in the tub

spartacus boys in the tubspartacus boys in the tub

spartacus boys in the tubspartacus boys in the tub

spartacus boys in the tubspartacus boys in the tub

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