photo friday: street pink

sad pink bunnypink skull
I'm not sure if it's especially good or bad that if I just wait long enough, certain things tend to come around again. We'll just have to see what actually eventuates... and this can sit here as a cryptic little reminder.

We're officially in the home stretch for our Fringe viewing for this year... because we're off to Sydney for my birthday, we don't actually have anything scheduled for the last week of the Fringe, so next week it it for this year.

It's been a pretty good run overall though, which is always a bonus.

We visited the Royal Croquet Club in the newly renovated Victoria Square... and both the Square and the addition of the RCC over the top are quite impressive. Although I was surprised by how few actual Fringe venues there were given the size of the place... and my ongoing belief that all public amplification can be cut by half without losing anything holds here as well... they had a random guy just playing some elevator musak, but the volume was so loud that it was hard to hear yourself think, let alone be able to hold a conversation or order food from the vendor down that end.

They also have a nice variety of food on offer, not only are there a number of the food trucks camped out there for the duration, but there's also a pretty nice Japanese place which is where we went for some food.

I got a little inspired after Ma brought down a spare Ribba frame she had laying around... I had a look at what I had lying around and nothing quite worked, so I set about making my own typographic piece using the text from Dr Seuss's Oh The Places You'll Go... and it looks pretty sweet, if I do say so myself. I think it'll make a good present for new babies or whatnot too, so I think it'll be making a reappearance at some point.

I think that I'm going to pair that with the two Bulbasaur images I have, since they all feature similar green, over the small bookcase and move the "gallery wall" over to the spot by the fridge... It's a big open space that I really have no idea what to do with (beyond finding something to keep my vacuum cleaner and steam mop in), since the dining table doesn't take up that much space. But that may have to wait until I've sorted out a few other bits and pieces in that area first.

I took a trip to the hospital to get my splint fixed after the velcro pad on the palm came off last week. It was a really easy fix and I was in and out of there in about ten minutes... the cute guy who looked after me said that I was the easiest patient all day, which is good.

Current Mood:

fringe: sound and fury's hitchcocked

Just when I honestly didn't think that Sound And Fury could get any funnier than Dirty Fairy Tales or Hamlet and Juliet... along comes Hitchcocked.

With a liberal dose of North By Northwest, a sprinkling of The Man Who Knew Too Much and more than a few references to various other Hitchcock movies (the way they used Dial M for Murder was my favourite though), I think Hitchcocked could very well be their funniest production so far (or at least of the three I've seen)... I definitely laughed more and harder during this one than I have before, which is saying something.

As I've said before, one of the things I love about Sound And Fury is how their shows are both incredibly frugal as far as sets, costumes (seriously, I don't think I've been to a show where somebody's pants weren't ripped in some fashion) and general production values but at the same time that's not only part of the charm, but it allows them to absolutely run amok with improvisation and general comedy... and sometimes it actually adds to the humour of the show (like, for example, the incredibly rickety "door" that refused to stay shut... or somebody not being able to find certain props backstage).

Although the opening sequence, using a projected mashup of Hitch's real introductions to his television show is pure genius and example of how they make a little do a whole lot. And the projection screen is also really well used to fill in for all the set they don't have.

Richard, doing his very, very best Cary Grant impression, is beset by bumbling cops, femme fatales and gangsters with questionable eyebrow as he tries to discover who killed his acting partner.

Patrick and Ryan play every other character (bar one, which is filled through the magic of audience participation)... from the audience-created female Hungarian hypnotist (and my apologies to Patrick who then had to try and implement my suggestion of Hungarian... with varying degrees of success before he gave up entirely), to the aforementioned cops, fatales and gangsters.

I honestly cannot recommend this one enough, especially if you're a Hitchcock fan... there's enough references to keep you entertained, and the rest of the show is a hell of a good laugh.

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fringe: elixir

adelaide fringe: elixir
It's a normal day in the lab for Doctor Harris and Doctor Gorham and their AI testing computer (which is very reminiscent of another computer in the same line of work)... they're up to Elixir 17B and need to run some tests of strength and agility before they can administer the elixir to the test subjects... themselves...

This is the set-up for Cal Harris and Tom Gorham's two-man acrobatic show and it works very well. And they also manage to mix in a large amount of comedy, which always works really well with circus type shows.

I saw Harris last year in Alice in the Madhouse, and swore then that if I got a chance to see him again in something, I'd definitely take it... so he was the main reason I wanted to see this show and it was absolutely the right decision. Harris has some exceptional comic timing, not to mention the fact that he's got one of those faces that can be quirky yet gorgeous one minute and doing comedy rubber-face the next. And then there's his body... I mean I know he's an acrobat and everything, but... wow.

Harris and Gorham have quite the arsenal in their bag of circus tricks... from ladder tricks (and that's still one of my favourite pieces of acrobatic equipment, although I'm not entirely sure why) to an (unfortunately brief) trapeze routine, acrobatics of every description, some totally unexpected sand (or, in this case, flour) painting, beautiful singing/guitar playing from Harris, and a finale using the seesaw I don't think anyone in the audience will forget in a hurry.

If there's a downside, it's only that in a couple of spots it feels like the set-ups and changeovers while moving between sequences are perhaps a little slow... and perhaps more could have been made of the testing computer voiceover during those sections. But it's a very minor quibble as, for the most part, it's an incredibly funny and entertaining show.

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random infrared hotness

Today's Random Hotness comes from photographer Nir Arieli's Inframen project.

Given the title, I'm guessing that the portraits are all taken with infrared photography which accounts for the almost metallic skin tones of some of the models, as well as the abundance of freckles.

inframen - alexinframen - clinton

inframen - devoninframen - gareth

inframen - jasoninframen - taner

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fringe: decadence

adelaide fringe: decadence
Decadence... moral or cultural decline as characterised by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury.

Decadence is two actors, one couch, four characters from the wicked excesses of 80's England and dense, thick, oozing language... words soaked in alcohol, slathered in butter and devoured by Katherine Shearer and Rowan McDonald only to have the visceral, vulgar prose seep from their pores.

A man meets his mistress, his wife meets her lover... the former are upper class, old money, brittle... the latter are nouveau riche, libidinous, homicidal.

Shearer and McDonald switch between characters without missing a beat... they slouch and swagger as the nouveau riche... only to stiffen and grow distainful as the upper class.

Any thread of plot throughout the play is only there in service of the language... words are everything here and the majority of the play takes place as monologues where rhyming couplets appear and disappear at will and the phrasing paints the most vivid of word pictures.

The text is by famous playwright and actor Steven Berkoff and it's clear that he appreciates the sound and rhythm of words as that's where this play lives and breathes.

It reminded me of Shakespeare quite a lot, just the way language is used for it's weight or sound as well as the use of rhymes and long speeches.

I especially loved the dining scene where Shearer mimes knocking back champagne while McDonald lists, in almost pornographic intensity, what the waiters should bring them to eat next.

This is definitely one of those plays that should be experienced first hand... for above all, it is an experience.

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fringe: improvise to go

The folks from Dungeons and Improvisations Adventure Show returned this year with their follow up show, Improvise to Go... which is about as loosely based around Monopoly as the previous show was loosely based around Dungeons and Dragons.

But when you have a troupe of improvisers, "loosely" is all you really need to start the ball rolling.

The audience selected two main characters... Michael and Aaron... and named them Sergei (or Sir Gay, depending on your pronunciation) Stumpy Goomba (yeah, it was a mashup of about three suggestions) and Everard Hornblower who took the name (in the show at any rate) from another character's grandmother and her unfortunate trumpet accident.

And the themed Monopoly game was Fairy Tale Monopoly... which meant that we were playing in a fairly similar universe to the previous show, but the two seriously could not have been more different.

Just like last time there were moments that were hysterically funny... and more than a few of those moments were courtesy of Craig and Curtis who were the Captain Sparkle and the Hippogriff respectively in the previous show, but this time around were a rather talented horse and a very weird hedge witch. I really want to be in the audience when Curtis gets to be a main character in one of these shows, because he's been brilliant both times, he's sharp as a tack and able to invent these wonderful characters at a moment's notice.

This time around there were a couple of different faces (or at least folks that I don't remember from last time), one of whom was Callum who not only maintained a flawless Scottish accent as Lord McFlobby-Wobby or McFlurry or Mc something anyway, but is also a very handsome gentleman.

I also find it amusing to watch director/actor wrangler/score keeper and, for the purposes of this show, banker, Joshua and his reaction to the actors as they try and wrestle the runaway story to the ground... it's a little bit like a live directors commentary, communicated entirely through expressions... and often made me laugh as much as everything else that was going on.

To be honest, I kind of liked the format they used for the previous show where the audience all wrote down suggestions of names, animals and objects and then Joshua used them throughout the show whenever a new character was introduced... it made for some incredibly odd scenarios and wonderfully wacky characters, whereas the Monopoly inspired plus and minus money idea didn't feel like it added as much in the moment.

But in essence it was a framing device for the show and didn't really interfere. And it certainly didn't stop them from being hilariously funny.

Oh, and I just found the description for tonight's show on their Facebook page...
It is a simpler time, women do not have to worry about finding the right guy, they just need to be captured by a mythical beast, rescued and then live out marriage and child birth. But not all is well in the kingdom of Happy Town, when the brave and beautiful Sergei Stumpy Goomba threatens to end the tyranny and danger the citizens will be plagued by laziness and have no need to strive towards anything.

It is up to Lord McFlaggen-stein and the shape changer Everard Hornblower to make sure that tyranny and danger survive through subcontracting monsters and bandits. With the guidance of an incredibly insane witch though, one princess will rise up, standing up for her own belief and find that not only can women save the day, but find love without kidnap.
Crazy... but brilliant once again!

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fringe: sound and fury's hamlet and juliet

I think you'd have to look fairly hard to find a trio of Fringe performers as genuinely lovely as Richard, Ryan and Patrick from Sound and Fury.

They all wandered out of the tent before the show and just hung out with the audience before things started officially.

Okay, so when Richard first wandered out, we were the entire audience... but then it was an 11am show on a Saturday morning, and I think the whole audience ended up being maybe a dozen or so people.

But once we got inside the tent, their energy level was enough for if they were playing to a full house.

And like their Dirty Fairy Tales show, they were performing even before the official show started, partly just screwing around, partly telling stories... just very funny, if totally random, stuff (as well as a bonus "Morals Song" as an encore after the show).

They also don't have a problem with the audience taking photos during the show (they were posing as models from various centuries in the photo on the left below, this was their 1970's pose), although if you're messing around with your phone too much they will call you out on it.

sound and fury as 70's catalogue modelsjuliet and hamlet...hamming it up
As I said last year, they're a little bit like the funniest people you know, it's not always the most polished humour, but it is genuinely, laugh out loud funny. It also often has that edge of both frenetic energy with a slight edge of panic (which is actually amusing in its own right), but you can tell when they're making it up as they go and making themselves laugh as they do it.

And they're still as frenetic, dirty and funny as I remember.

This time the show is a mash-up of two of Shakespeare's tragedies, Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet... but they discard Romeo and make the Prince of Denmark fall in love with the maid of Verona (hence the title). And with a heavy dose of improvisation thrown into the mix too.

I'm pretty familiar with Romeo and Juliet, less so with Hamlet... but it really is a great mash-up of the two... characters from one play are both their original character as well as a character from the other play and it all gets mushed together in one very funny comedy (even if everybody does die at the end).

Just like last time I definitely had a giant crush on young Patrick (hello... he's a short, cute, redheaded, freckled young gentleman, what's not to love)... he's definitely the big joker of the three, and I love watching his face when the other two throw him a curve ball, he really doesn't have much of a poker face, which is just fun to watch.

I also love that they always make him the female characters, or at least the titular Juliet this time around... but he does look pretty good in the big curly wig.

Ryan is definitely the wicked one of the three, or else he just gets all the dirty lines in the productions... and his revenge on Patrick towards the end of the performance had me in stitches. I'm not sure that's a regular thing judging from Patrick's reaction though.

Once again Richard tries to hold it all together, or at least it seems that way, although he does have his own great moments, like an awesome Sean Connery impression.

Their comic timing is still exceptional, even when one of them forgets their lines (not singling anyone out or anything... Patrick) and it's clear that they're having just as much fun as the audience.

I'm very glad that we're going to see their other show next week... they're definitely staying firmly in place on the "must see again" list.

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busy shopping saturday with added fringing

noddy's busy day
Today has been, as they say in the classics, A Very Busy Day.

We had two Fringe shows to attend, spaced about six hours apart, so it's been a little bit of a hurry, hurry, hurry, wait, hurry kind of day.

I woke up a little too early this morning, and it actually too me a few seconds to remember it was a Saturday.

One of the things that I do like about having moved to a new apartment (or possibly just because I'm around the house a lot more) is the house is pretty tidy most of the time, so I don't have to do as much tidying up on a Saturday morning.

Ma was running a little bit late, so she asked me to meet her downstairs so I wandered down at what I thought was the appropriate time and just chilled out sitting on the top of the letterboxes, idly drumming and wondering why there were so many goddamn small red cars on the road while I was waiting for a small red car.

The supermarket part of the day was all good... nothing overly radical and we tried to keep the running around to a minimum once the main shopping was done since we had to be at Gluttony by 11am.

After a quick unpacking session back at my place we headed into the city. I've been reasonably lucky with car parks in Hindmarsh Square over the last week or so, but sadly it wasn't to be this morning.

Once we did find a park elsewhere we wandered down to Gluttony for the very first show of the day, which was awesome (more on that later, obviously), and then we wandered back up Rundle Street and stopped off at Burger Theory so I could pick up my t-shirt reward from the I Am Frozen Custard crowdfunding campaign (which took a little while as we had to wait for the boys to bring some more shirts in the appropriate size, but it was worth the wait).

Ma's been wanting to visit the Haighs factory store for a couple of weeks, so that was our next stop, where we went a little bit crazy... but again, totally worth it.

I also needed an adaptor for my shiny new phone, so we headed down the Big W on Goodwood Road but unfortunately they didn't have the right ones, so we decided to head down to Marion since we were already headed in the right direction.

On the way down we swung past the Laygo store to see if they had any of the plates I need for the frame project... sadly they only had green ones, which weren't much good. The store is definitely worth a revisit though, I don't know that it necessarily has all that different stuff from anywhere else, but I pretty much just ran in, asked about the plates and then ran out again.

The main things I needed to do at Marion were to get the adaptor and also to get myself a fancy teacup and some tea from T2... I may have gotten a little over excited on the tea front... it's not the cheapest tea, but at least the teacup is very gorgeous. Now I just need to find a spot to keep it out on display somewhere.

We also grabbed some yoghurt from The Yoghurt Shop and while we were being served, I heard someone say my name and turned around to see one of the girls I used to work with (not directly, but she worked near us and we kind of adopted her as an unofficial part of the team). It was nice to see her and catch up a little, although for a change in those conversations I had more news... normally I'm all "yeah, same as always".

We got back here, I installed the new phone (only to discover that I either need a second line splitter or something... I don't exactly know, I have a feeling it's not going to be as easy as that given the way things are currently set up, but I'll work something out)... and after hearing it ring, I'm even more in love with it than before... it's the classic, old timey phone ring. Love, love, love!

But, like I said, it's going to need some fiddling to get it all to work properly.

I was also a little bit frightened when we went to pay for remainder of the hotel bill for our Sydney trip... to do it I needed to create an account for the hotel website, so I randomly picked a username (our surname and Ma's first initial) and a password, but once I entered them the computer already had all of Ma's details entered... I swear we didn't do that last time, and if we had it would have been a different username, and we didn't book the rooms online, so I have no idea why the hell the website already knew who Ma was.

Don't get me wrong, it was nice to not have to enter all the details, but a little bit freaky at the same time.

Then we headed back into the city for the second show and managed to score a park in Hindmarsh Square, although then the ticket machine ate $1.20 and wouldn't give it back... which was a little annoying.

After the second show (and after running into several of the cast as we wandered around looking for somewhere to eat), we headed over to Rundle Street for some dinner. I can only think that all of the eateries along Rundle Street must both love and hate the Fringe in equal measure... being a Saturday night and all, the place was heaving with people and the staff behind the counter were a little run off their feet.

It was a nice dinner though... we decided to try the pizza sliders (which is the same principle as the burger sliders, three mini pizzas of different flavours), which were very nice.

So, yeah, it doesn't necessarily sound like a lot, but we've been on the go for pretty much the whole day, but it's been a good day.

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photo friday: grey waves

black and white surferblack and white surfer
 
black and white surferblack and white surfer
Well, at least this week I got some kind of idea of what my new apartment will be like come winter time... which is to say, if I leave the wrong combination of windows open, a very chilly wind tunnel.

So much so that on Wednesday morning, I left the front door open when I came back from my walk, but the wind was a little gusty and knocked my framed Aquabumps photo right off the bookshelf taking almost everything else with it! Thankfully it didn't break, although the really cheap box frame I have a photo in that I took did come apart but some superglue seems to have fixed that right up. And I stuck the Aquabumps frame down with some double sided stickytape, so hopefully that will prevent it happening again.

But I've been wearing a hoodie, and long pants, and socks... it's been crazy (good, but crazy... and I'm hoping that the hot weather doesn't return with a vengeance in the middle of March).

I'm six shows into what has become a seventeen show Fringe season after I succumbed to The Vaudevillians on Sunday, and I realised that I always forget the things that I like about this time of year.

By the end of Fringe I'm usually tired of the people and a little bit sleep deprived and generally all out of words from writing so many reviews so I forget the good stuff... like the city (or certain parts of it anyway) being full of people all the time. And especially those people who you only ever see at Fringe time... or at least that I don't tend to run into or mix with at any other time of the year.

And then there's all the accents... I've heard more different accents in the past week than I think I've heard in about a year. It's always fun when someone opens their mouth and this whole different soundscape comes out. It's one of the things that I love about Sydney too (and Melbourne).

Then there's also seeing "famous" people (you know, anybody who's been on the telly) right out in the street... so far this year I've seen Cal Wilson, an Umbilical Brother (the one with all the hair) and a male comedian who I loathe so I won't even mention his name. I know that they're just regular people and they're working comedians, so they're on the road doing gigs all the time (for the most part), but it's always a little bit odd to be walking down Rundle Street and see them coming the other way.

I've been looking around for a new landline phone since I moved in... my old cordless phone, which had definitely seen better days, gave up the ghost and while it could have just done with a new battery in the handset, I was pretty much over it. And Ma came to the rescue as usual with an old handset she had around the place, but I wanted something a little bit fancier.

Unfortunately there just aren't landline phones anywhere for sale... or at least not beyond the same few boring designs. So I turned to the interwebz... specifically eBay and found a couple of fantastic phones, one of which I bought and which showed up yesterday.

It's an updated version of a 1950's phone, the kind you expect Humphrey Bogart to be talking to somebody on... I totally fell in love with it as soon as I saw it, and now that it's sitting on the kitchen bench I'm even more in love with it (even if it's not actually plugged into the phone line yet since I need an extension jack first).

My thumb is feeling better... although I did lose the velcro strap holding it together. Well, I didn't really lose it, it's also on the kitchen counter but the hook piece that was holding it on inside my palm came off on Tuesday, it'd lost all it's stickem... I tried repairing it with double sided sticky tape, but that didn't last very long so I improvised a solution using part of one of those elasticised bandages, which has been pretty damn successful. I think it's bonded to the hook section of velcro on the back of my hand, and it's easy to get on and off when I need to. Whether or not it's a permanent solution or not I don't know, but it's working out for now.

Current Mood:

fringe: trash test dummies

adelaide fringe: trash test dummies
Trash Test Dummies is just good fun.

They don't try to be too many things, and what they do do they do well.

The Dummies are Melbourne trio Jamie Bretman, Jack Coleman and Simon Wright (or as I kept thinking of their characters internally... the veteran, the joker and the apprentice).

I realised that I have a fondness for shows where the performers are already on stage when the audience enters (for example, last year's Dirty Fairy Tales)... and the Dummies do this well... the venue had bits of trash all over the place and as the Dummies are garbos they go around cleaning up before the show... Bretman even dusted off my chair before I sat down which was very sweet.

However, be warned, they may also make off with your phone! Or your bag... but they do return everything eventually.

The show really starts when the wheelie bins come into play... and they use those bins as everything from hiding spots, percussion instruments, climbing frames, costumes and even a chariot.

Their tricks are often simple enough, but the addition of the bins does add a unique aspect, especially to the club juggling routine at the end... and the occasion bout of real-time slow-mo also works really well.

But the main thing that sets this show apart is the personalities of the three Dummies and the fact that the show is incredibly funny.

Wright is delightfully dopey as the "apprentice" and also does that walking ladder trick which I always like. Coleman seems to be the acrobat of the group... or at least he's the one who usually ended up upside down or at the very top of the tent or being flipped upside down by one of the other Dummies. And Bretman is an adorable bear of a performer who acts as the anchor (always an important but underrated job) for a lot of the flipping and tumbling.

And the choice of music is also really great... from 2001 to The Matrix to Swan Lake to The Powerpuff Girls theme (actually that last one was a sequence that made me laugh my ass off). The fact that they also don't speak beyond random yells and grunts definitely adds to the overall performance.

Because it's an early show at 5:30pm, the crowd was a little sparse, which is disappointing, because they really deserve big crowds every night... so go and see them damnit! It'd be a great after work de-stresser! Or it's a good show for the whole family.

Oh, and buy a little wheelie bin from the boys after the show too... they're just too damn cute (and for the record I'm referring to both the bins and the boys).

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random bat hotness

The week's Random Hotness looks like it should be the poster for a Fringe show, but it's actually a photoshoot from the most recent cycle of America's Next Top Model, which is the first cycle where they've mixed male and female models.

The models were whisked off to Bali and while they were there had this bat inspired photoshoot, which looks pretty damn awesome.

american's next top batman - marvinamerican's next top batman - chris

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fringe: the sheds

adelaide fringe: the sheds
The Sheds asks the question "What happens when an AFL player comes out?"...

Or at least that was how it was billed, but to be honest, the play isn't really about that... and for most of the hour running time, it doesn't especially feel like it's about much of anything.

We're introduced to the story by Liam, played by Ludwik Exposto... at first you assume it's going to be Liam's story about coming out, but that actually belongs to Darren, played by Pat Chirico. And essentially the coming out part is over within the first five minutes of the play.

Rounding out the trio of footballers/actors is Jimmy, played by Andii Mulders, who is the catalyst for moving the story along as much as it does.

It's also weird that Liam is the ongoing narrator... to me it would have made more sense for Darren to be telling the story, but we never get inside his head.

Of the three actors Exposto is the most built like the fantasy ideal of the AFL player (and to my eye the most attractive of the trio), but with his very deep voice and the faintest trace of some other accent I found him difficult to understand from time to time. Chirico looks more like what I think an AFL player traditionally looks, whereas Mulders looks more like the rookies in pre-season before they pack on 20kg of muscle.

I also felt a little bit at a distance from the actors (not literally, given that I was sitting in the front row), and there were only a couple of moments that really felt real to me, one of which was when Exposto had to reassemble part of the IKEA bench he'd thrown across the room in the previous room, and the other was both his and Chirico's reaction to an overly enthusiastic beer bottle.

What the play feels like it fails to do is really dig into the meat of what it would be like as the first out gay AFL player... it feels like it skirts the entire issue for the most part, other than using it as the set up at the beginning and uses it for the basis of the denouement at the end of the play.

I didn't need the character of Darren to become the Mardi Gras poster boy, but it feels like such a non-issue in the story that Darren may as well have been hiding dyslexia or illiteracy or something.

Mulders manages to portray the increasingly homophobic Jimmy in such a way that he quickly becomes far too real and representative of a certain section of the world. At the same time I didn't really feel like the play gave him enough motivation for the change in his character.

The resolution of Jimmy's character at the end wasn't anywhere near as surprising as I think it was supposed to be, and to be honest also felt like it was just thrown out a little too quickly in an almost "blink and you'll miss it" kind of way.

And as another review I read said, the three characters feel more like they'd fit into a suburban footy club rather than the big leagues and the play may have worked better if it had been relocated there.

Which isn't to say that it was all bad... I mean any play with full frontal male nudity always gets a few extra points in my book (and Exposto gets a couple of additional points on top of that... just because he looked so damn good naked... dat ass, to coin a phrase)...

And because the entire play is set within the confines of the locker room, all three characters seemed to be constantly in the process of dressing or undressing or packing or unpacking their sportsbags. Because it's always good when actors have something to do with their hands.

Plus there are some nice moments between Exposto and Chirico.

But all in all it feels like something that hasn't quite gelled yet, which is a shame, because it could have been something powerful.

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fringe: luminous

adelaide fringe: luminous
Luminous is one of those circus shows that has moments of brilliance and a unique hook, but wasn't perhaps as amazing as I hoped it would be.

Billed as Australia's first blacklight circus show, it certainly delivers on that... although the venue itself, La Petite Grande in Gluttony works against them somewhat, since the ceiling fluoresces slightly and it only takes a couple of people in the crowd to be wearing white tops before the ambient light level in the tent rises a little higher than is ideal. That meant that the performers all in black who were supposed to be essentially invisible weren't as invisible as they could have been.

I also couldn't help thinking that the audio levels were a little spotty at times, with a little too much distortion/volume for the size of the venue.

The show started interestingly enough... with one of the performers being painted live on stage with squiggles and spots of glowing paint while he performed contact juggling (pretty much a version of the image above).

The next segment was the lone female performer as some kind of bug inspired creature and, to be honest that didn't work for me as much... whether that's my usual slight bias against female acrobats or not, I don't know, but I think some of the illusions they were trying to create weren't always completely clear, especially once the male performer clad in orange showed up.

After that came a video game/Tron inspired juggling act, which had a neat built in gag for when the juggling balls were dropped. I will admit I was a little bit distracted by the video game character only because the painted front to his underwear left very little to the imagination.

One of the sections that worked the best for me was the performer twirling the canes. The blacklight added the glowing after image so that it became almost hypnotic and the performer was mostly in black which also helped.

The two male performers returned to do a duo juggling routine with clubs, which would have been difficult enough at the best of times, but with the blacklight and glowing clubs added several layers of difficulty to the routine.

There was also a weird bromance/romance thing going on during that routine which felt a little odd (although I wouldn't have overly objected if the two performers had actually kissed) or maybe just out of place a little. I'm not sure if it was just done for laughs, because if so, it's a little disappointing.

When the female performer returned I'm guessing it was supposed to be burlesque-inspired, but to be honest, it felt a little "hoochy" (but again, that could just be me). And it never helps to have your performance be mostly on the floor when the majority of your audience don't have a clear line of sight to the floor.

The finale of the show though was just plain weird... the performers all reappear and pretty much just cover themselves in more glowing paint... and then it's all over and the lights come up.

In many ways I kind of wish they'd never brought the lights up on the performers. Yes, it was nice to be able to see who it was you were applauding, but as soon as we could see them, the spell of the glowing bodies was broken and they actually didn't really seem to have very much paint on them at all.

As far as pure circus acts go, given that we've seen a large number of them over the past few years, this one would be kind of average... some interesting moments, but nothing spectacular... however the blacklight was definitely something unique, but it perhaps wasn't as amazing as I was hoping.

But definitely points for effort and creativity.

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fringe: the vaudevillians

adelaide fringe: the vaudevillians
I very nearly missed out on seeing the sparkling diamond that is The Vaudevillians! Somehow I missed it when I originally went through picking shows, and it was only when I happened to see somebody mention the show and it's star, Jinkx Monsoon (winner of Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race) that I got excited.

Jinkx was my favourite queen for that whole season, and I was rooting for her right from the get go, so the opportunity to see her performing live was too good to pass up.

And boy, was it absolutely worth it.

The premise for the show is simple enough, in the 1920's Kitty Witless (Monsoon) and Doctor Dan Von Dandy (Major Scales) delighted audiences with their original songs. Unfortunately, one day, tragedy struck while they were touring through Antarctica. They were frozen alive, staring into each other's eyes for close to 90 years. But thanks to global warming, they recently thawed out only to discover that modern singers have stolen their music and passed it off as their own.

Yep, that old chestnut.

What it really is is an opportunity for Monsoon and Scales to give their own unique stamp to a range of songs including "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "Piece of My Heart", "I Will Survive" and Madonna's "Music" amongst others.

It's also both interesting and a little strange that Kitty (aka Monsoon aka Jerick Hoffer) and Von Dandy (aka Scales aka Richard Andriessen) are characters being played by characters created by the performers. And then on top of that they're doing their own interpretation of existing music as though their characters created it first.

Confusing? Actually not so much... but it definitely adds a wonderful world within a world within a world quality to the show (however for the purposes of this review I'll be referring to the performers as Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales).

While the music is fantastic, and I swear that Jinkx almost doesn't need amplification for some of the numbers, or at least she didn't from my position in the front row... but what made it an absolutely amazing show was the humour.

Fans of Jinkx from Drag Race will know that she was no stranger to comedy... but she honestly had me on the edge of crying with laughter at various points throughout the show, especially with her vocal gymnastics and deliciously over the top physical comedy during "I Will Survive", which according to the duo was taken from the Von Dandy's musical sequel to Ibsen's A Doll's House... A Doll's House 2: Electric Boogaloo (and you're only going to get that joke if you're over a certain age... but trust me, I laughed my ass off).

I could also seriously listen to her do her version of an Australian accent while saying "no" over and over and over again.

There's also nothing quite as funny as when a drag queen picks out a straight guy from the audience... because usually they've been brought along by their partner and may not exactly know what they're getting into... but it's usually hilarious to watch. And doubly so in tonight's case with Tim who was seriously man-handled by Kitty (and to a lesser degree when she sat in the very gorgeous Simon's lap and asked him inappropriate questions... but who wouldn't if you could get away with it).

A general word of advice to the straight boys in the audience from somebody who's been kissed by a big black opera singing drag queen in a room full of strangers... they've been doing this for a while now, they know what they're doing, sit back, relax and just let it happen. It'll be over before you know it and you have a great story to tell people later.

Although it is funnier when they squirm.

A lot of the time the focus is squarely on Monsoon's character (and by extension to Jinkx herself), because as I've seen it put rather bluntly in other reivews, "none of these people bought a ticket to see him", but Major Scales aka Von Dandy does hold his own throughout the show and gets his chance to shine during his version of hiphop song "Let Me Clear My Throat" (which I will admit, I wasn't familiar with).

Like a lot of shows that come to Fringe however, we did get the slightly cut down version of the show if some of the other reviews I've read are to be believed (with references to songs that weren't in this version), which is a little bit of a shame because I could very easily have spent another hour in Monsoon and Scales' world.

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fringe: the bunker trilogy - agamemnon

adelaide fringe: the bunker trilogy - agamemnon
Given that Agamemnon, the second part of The Bunker Trilogy, takes place in the same space, with the same actors and the same writer and director as the first part, Morgana, a lot of what I said about that play is relevant here too (and if I'd been able to see all three plays in the same night, this might have been one giant review).

One of the things that I was very impressed with was how easily all four actors switched from the characters in Morgana to a set of radically different characters in Agamemnon.

James Marlow goes from bumbling Gawain to become the titular Agamemnon who is forceful and passionate (in all possible permutations of that word),  Sam Donnelly changes from Lancelot to a Scottish soldier on the battlefield, Hayden Wood transforms from the commanding Arthur to the meek Aegisthus, while Bebe Sanders really gets to shine as Agamemnon's wife Clytemnestra.

All the actors also take on different accents this time around... gone are the plummy upper crust accents, replaced by what I think were Yorkshire or Lancashire and Scottish accents.

It's also a much harsher tone... Agamemnon spends the majority of the play either injured and in terrible pain, but there are also flashbacks to happier times, and Marlow does exceptionally well at both. There are still moment of humour, but it's a much darker sense of humour for the most part.

It's actually clear from the start that it's going from a very different tone, as Donnelly emerges out of a smoke filled bunker, shepherding the audience in while hissing that we need to be quiet or "they'll hear us".

I wasn't particularly familiar with the story of Agamemnon, beyond knowing the name, so I was pretty much free to enjoy (that's perhaps the right word, but it does still fit I think) the play as it unfolded.

As I said, there are large chunks of this play that really feel like they're Sanders'... and she manages to go from loving wife to a steely eyed apparition and back again throughout the play... and without giving anything away, the end of the play is so perfectly crafted that I got a little misty eyed again, but only for a moment or two.

Having now seen two of the three plays in the trilogy, I have to say that while you could see just one, I'm pretty sure that to get the best out of the experience, you should see all three!

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fringe: the bunker trilogy - morgana

adelaide fringe: the bunker trilogy - morgana
Having now seen two of the three plays that make up The Bunker Trilogy, I can say that without a doubt it deserves all of the praise already heaped upon it.

But I really shouldn't have expected anything less from director/designer Jethro Compton, who starred in the 2012 Fringe show, The Boy James, which is still a stand out moment from all the shows I've seen.

And writer of all three parts of the trilogy, Jamie Wilkes, does a fantastic job at taking, in the case of Morgana, the characters from Arthurian legend and melding them with characters from the First World War into something that isn't exactly the legend and isn't wholly an original work about three young men in the midst of war.

Not to make too many comparisons back to The Boy James, but the staging reminded me of it... in so much as you're in an enclosed space, with seating all around and the action is happening essentially in the middle of the audience (and in my case, right next to me since we were sitting just next to the cot which was used quite a bit). But unlike The Boy James, the space itself isn't a warm and squishy welcoming space, this is the titular bunker, with wood and hessian walls and a dirt floor.

They also share the fact that the actors are already in character and in the space before the audience... in the case of Morgana, wearing newspaper hats and singing Christmas carols, which eventually they got the audience to sing along with.

The four actors are amazing... Hayden Wood as Arthur, Sam Donnelly as Lancelot, James Marlow as Gawain and Bebe Sanders as Morgana. Wood just has this commanding and appropriately dignified presence... Donnelly is as handsome as you would want a Lancelot to be and as rakish, if a little bit of a bully... and Marlow is bumbling and loquacious as Gawain, simple but sweet (and just as a side note, I hope they manage to repair Marlow's pants, the seam at back kept surrendering a stitch or two at a time throughout both plays which must have been both a distraction and a little bit draughty for him).

Sanders doesn't necessarily feel like she has as much to do during Morgana than she does in the second part of the trilogy, but that could be more to do with the fact that she appears and disappears constantly as the object/s of affection for each of the three men throughout the play... and it feels more like the play is centred around them and their relationship rather than their interactions with her. Which isn't to say that she's not great in her role.

They're all exceptionally fine singers too... it's more snippets of songs here and there rather than full on production numbers, although one of the best and funniest bits is a version of Where Did You Get That Hat.

Of the first two parts of the trilogy, Morgana is definitely the more humorous of the two, but laughing with a character is an easy way to get the audience to connect with them, which works brilliantly for the end of the play. I won't spoil what happens, but I will say that I got a little misty eyed.

And given that it only runs for an hour, it's a perfectly crafted little play.

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pre-fringe saturday shopping

so much to do
Today didn't all exactly go according to plan, but enough of it went right that I can't really complain.

Oh, and in answer to the question I posed yesterday about whether or not I was ready for Fringe... I can definitely say that even if I wasn't before, I am now!

I woke up far too early this morning, played with my phone a bit, got up and pottered around for five minutes, then gave up and went back to bed for another half an hour or so. Which doesn't really have much of a bearing on the rest of the day... but it was stuff that happened.

When I did get up, I did a little bit of tidying up, but spent a little too long phaffing about so that I was only just getting out of the shower when Ma arrived.

Eventually we toddled off to the supermarket and did the usual Supermarket Wander before heading to the checkout with the trainee girl. Now I'll give her her due, yes she was a little bit slow, but she was a good bag-packer... and that's rare in check-out staff, so big check in the plus column for her there. She was also being "trained" by possibly one of the most attractive young men I've seen in a goodly while... great hair, beautiful straight nose, lips that were like two little pink satin pillows... lordy, just divine. He clearly chewed his nails though and was obviously half my age at the bare minimum, but nobody's perfect.

After we'd finished all the other random wandering, we headed back here for the marathon unpacking.

I do enjoy the fact that my kitchen bench is now about twice as long, maybe more, than it previously was... it does assist with the grocery unpacking.

Anyway, once everything was all put away we did a little mulling over exactly what we were going to do between then and 3pm or so when we needed to be back at my place to get ready for our first Fringe show.

Sometimes it's good when you're thinking something but don't really want to suggest it, and the other person just comes right out and suggests the same thing for completely different reasons. In this instance, it was Ma who did the suggesting, with the location being IKEA.

However, if we were going to IKEA, I also really wanted to head to Toy Corner first to pick up the necessary Lego parts to make some DIY Lego wall art. The only down side to that being that the two stores are essentially in complete opposite directions. But we had all day, and no other plans... so we headed off to Toy Corner.

For some reason, I had it in my head that it was a little bit closer than it actually was, but it didn't take that much longer to get there.

We had a bit of a poke around the store before I went up to the counter and asked for the bits and pieces that I needed. Sadly they didn't have any of the 16 x 16 plates in the colours I wanted, so I left with just the small 2 x 2 plates. So that'll either mean another trip up there, or I may have to investigate it either of the other two stores that specialise in Lego have the parts I want.

It did mean we also got to have a bit of a wander around Ned's... which isn't a store I get to frequent very often as none of them are really in directions I end up going. Mostly it was a lot of scary stuff that shouldn't really exist, but we did spot some tiny "cupcake" sized bell jars on sale, and they had the types of long skinny canvases that I want to use for the Macbeth themed text artwork that I want to make for my bedroom once my hand is functional again.

Then we trekked from the north-east out to the west and the Land of the Swedish Meatball. It was more or less lunch time by the time we got there, so we stopped off at the restaurant... yeah, I know I say this almost every time, but it's all a bit ho-hum. We ended up getting soup, which wasn't all that bad.

Then we did a reasonably quick circuit of IKEA, going in the opposite direction to everyone else, because sometimes it's fun to swim against the current.

Our main targets were all on the ground floor though... as usual, it's kind of difficult to wander through the kitchen section without getting distracted (to the tune of two storage jars)... I finally gave in and got a small round rug just to put between the two armchairs to put my feet on... and as usual, the frame section is always somewhere I end up spending time, even before I actually had things that needed frames. Oh, and a little yellow cloud napkin rack to use as a letter rack, which works really well.

Then, due to the fact that we were there, they were cheap, and it will save us a trip later, was to grab one of the Rast chest of drawers... they don't look like much, but I'm hoping to channel my inner Martha Stewart (or other home decorating diva of choice) and make them look a little something like this. Yes, it may end up being more expensive than if I'd bought something, but there don't seem to be any bedside cabinets that are a decent size like that.

Anyway, it'll be a project...

I also picked up some cheap clear acrylic drawer handles... eventually I want to replace them with some chrome ones, but the ones in IKEA were like $7 a pair, whereas the acrylic ones were $1 for 6... so they'll do as an interim measure.

Fortunately we didn't need to deconstruct Ma's car to get the box in, but it did require a little juggling to secure it to the back seat using the seatbelts.

And then we headed back to my place.

We bummed around for a little while, between watching Calamity Jane on the teevee and washing the storage jars, it didn't take too long before we were getting ready to head into the city for The Bunker Trilogy.

Well, technically it ended up only being The Bunker Duet... there are three shows, but they cancelled Macbeth for tonight for some unknown reason... and I wasn't notified by the folks at the Fringe... and there was no announcement or sign up at the venue, we just heard someone in the crowd talking.

Anyway, I did have a little bit of a fanboy moment because the director/designer of The Bunker Trilogy is the amazing Jethro Compton, star of the 2012 Fringe show, The Boy James... which is still amongst the most amazing Fringe shows I've ever seen... and although he's not acting in this show, he was there at the venue, so I fanboyed a little, but there wasn't an opportunity to actually fanboy AT him, I just had to do it about him instead.

Full reviews for both of the shows tonight will follow... but moving on, we had a gap of a couple of hours between the first and second show, so we headed up to Gouger Street (since the venue was, of all things, a former print shop between Gouger and Grote) to find somewhere to eat.

As we wandered up towards the main eatery part of Gouger, we spotted a Sushi place on the opposite side of the road, and decided to head across to have a look... turned out it was one of those places with the conveyor belt, which neither Ma nor I have been to before (I know, I know... but it's true), so we figured why the hell not.

So dinner was at Sushi Bar Genki... given that it was only a little after 5pm, we were one of the first people in the place, and when we first sat down there weren't as many choices of things as there might have been later in the evening... but it did increase as time went on, and they had iPads were you could order whatever you liked. Of course, Ma and I ordered a plate of edamame each... because, edamame! Oh, and also, picked ginger... I LOVE pickled ginger so much!

And we kind of just picked some stuff off the conveyor at random that either looked good or sounded good or some combination of both. It's definitely a place I wouldn't mind going back to again, just to try some other things. But we got a nice range of different tastes, and even though I had to use my chopsticks in my left hand I still did pretty well with them.

Once we had a nice little stack of plates and some full bellies, we headed back to the venue for the second part of the Bunker Trilogy.

Sadly the third part has been postponed until the beginning of March, but it'll be worth the wait!

It did mean that we got to come back earlier, although it also meant that I came home to the neighbours with the pool at the back having a party. Which pretty much seems to consist of drunken shouting, very loud and off-key singing to whatever Top 40 dreck they're listening to... and last time it kept up until about midnight.

At some point, if not now, then the next time they pull this shit, there will very likely be some angry yelling out the window... urgh... anyway, I'm rocking some Coffivity through my headphones which is drowning out most everything but the most noisy singing/screaming. Which doesn't mean I'm not going to scream at them...

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photo friday: red

red thirty-twobill post red

red rock red rockred cloud bird
I can't decide whether or not I'm ready for the onslaught of Fringe... which doesn't leave me a lot of time to make my mind up since the Fringe parade is on as we speak, and Ma and I are off to our first show tomorrow.

Well, I say first... technically it's the first three shows back to back to back more or less. So I guess if I'm not ready now, I should be by the end of tomorrow.

And it seems like there are only two possible types of weather for the start of the Fringe, temperatures above 40°C or torrential rain. This year the roulette wheel stopped on torrential rain. Granted it stopped late this afternoon, but everything is still a wee bit soggy.

I also discovered exactly what it's like in my new apartment when it rains hard... it's not quite the scenario of a proper tin roof, although I am right under the roof... but when it rains hard, I can definitely hear it on the roof. I can also hear it and see it cascading out of the guttering on the building next door from the living room. Clearly they need to sort something out with the guttering, but to be honest it isn't that bad... I can't really hear it from the bedroom, and otherwise it's just a general kind of waterfall sound as it falls three storeys, which is actually kind of nice.

It also meant that I couldn't go for my walk this morning which was disappointing... I mean I could have but I would either have been walking with an umbrella or else been completely saturated within the first minute.

I also didn't realise that pools completely fill up after torrential rain... but I happened to notice that water in the pool belonging to the neighbours at the back was up to ground level and was slightly spreading out. It seems to be fixed now though.

That is one of the things that I like about living in North Adelaide... even if there was monumental flooding, my suburb is pretty much all on high ground, so no matter what my feet will stay relatively dry.

I've been more than a little bit restless this week... partly because it's been hot again, partly because I feel like I should be doing... something. Yeah, I'm not going to follow that thought any further at the risk of depressing myself.

Moving on...

Sometimes you have an experience that afterwards you keep remembering parts of and just smiling and shaking your head in general disbelief... and you also realise that you were slightly dazzled by the strangeness or uniqueness of said experience and not as much happened as you first thought. And given that I'm being so damn esoteric, clearly I'm talking about sex.

It was also even stranger because it was one of those guys who seem a bit flaky when you talk to them online and I just assumed it was going to be one of those "never going to happen" guys... and next thing, he's standing in my living room, buck naked.

So, yeah... that was a thing that happened.

I also seem to be a little bit cursed when it comes to baking... granted it would probably help if I was actually totally following a recipe, but I made some cupcakes that where the bake was really good, but they were frankly tasteless. So I've managed a tasty cake that had a disasterous bake and was essentially still batter in the middle... and some nicely baked muffins that tasted like nothing. Third time's the charm maybe?

I had both a haircut appointment with Tink and the first Espionage Gallery show of the year on yesterday. Originally I was going to go to Espionage, check out the show and then head off to Tink's place, but she messaged me and said she had a cancellation at 3pm and wondered if I wanted to come over earlier.

It seemed like a good plan, even though Tink Jr wasn't going to be safely tucked away in bed as usual. So I headed off to her new place, which is technically closer, but I swear that it took about as long to get to since I needed to head towards the city instead of away from it. Tink and her partner seem to have very specific taste in rental properties... the three places I've seen so far have all been hardwood and tiled floors, high ceilings, very minimal designs and either very new or clearly renovated. I know I'm not a minimal kind of person when it comes to home decor, but I've really liked all three of the places.

The haircut portion of the visit went pretty much the way haircuts always go... although we perhaps spent more time talking about Tink Jr since she was a whirling little ball of energy running about the place.

I still ended up sticking around for about the same amount of time as I usually do, which also meant I was a little bit late in getting to Espionage for the opening. It didn't help because I needed to come home first and get changed and then instead of going into town the way I usually do for Espionage shows, I tried going a different way but ended up having to take a massive detour because of all the traffic. However it was all a bit of a disaster and still ended up on the same road I usually use, but it took twice as long as if I'd just gone that way in the first place.

The Around the World in 80 Toys show turned out to be one of the better shows at Espionage... and I think possible the best vinyl toy shows that they've had... mostly I think because it was a range of different toy forms, and from a lot of established vinyl toy artists.

I hung out for a while, chatted with Josh some, then wandered down the Mall to get some money out of the bank... I had also intended to stop off at the Fringe kiosk to pick up some tickets to an extra show, but because I was running late, the kiosk was shut by the time that I got there... possibly it just means that I'm not supposed to go to that particular show. I dunno... I could just head out on Sunday and buy tickets right before the show. I haven't actually done that before, so that could be a thing. I'll depend on how I feel after Saturday I guess.

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