Is 2020 the year of the classy short? – ArtsHub

We have now had a chance to see the Australian shorts at Flickerfest, St Kilda, the Sydney Film Festival and the Melbourne International Film Festival. There are a lot of classy shorts, made in that golden era before COVID-19. But you can’t trap a screen creator forever– the lure of the imaginative universe is one of the most seductive things we have as a species.

At Flickerfest we discovered, ‘The cultural origins of the Australian winners are fascinating. A woman of Chinese background, an electric violinist – and a woman – from a Korean family, a woman of PNG and Australian parentage, a white male animator who was born in some other dimension, a female editor who went home to New York, and a father-son team from Malaysia. A lot of overseas study is threaded through this as well.’

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The overall winner was The Diver, which ran at the Venice Film Festival. We interviewed the creative team of Michael Leonard and Jamie Helmer. As Leonard said, ‘We create impressionistic work but we have a massive love of traditional cinema as well. We think of people like Cronenberg and Lynch who use genre to present ideas in such a different way.’

At St Kilda, The Egg swept the pool. It was made by Jane Cho, the electric violinist from Flickerfest, who had already won at MIFF 2019, then at the AACTAs, with a Special Mention at Flickerfest. Here’s the blurb:

One little girl. One giant egg. Day after dull day, under the punishing and watchful eye of an elderly woman, a young girl, bored and lonely in a muted world of foreign suburbia, becomes determined to claim a large Easter egg as her own. No matter the cost.

The Sydney Film Festival Awards were well and truly online. The Winner was Alex Wu, for Idol, which is a single shot of a young man’s face as an offscreen voice destroys him for failing to honour his contract as a constructed teen idol. The judges said:

In a very minimalist way, Alex Wu’s Idol reveals an unexpected story and we were surprisingly moved by the plight of the central character. The use of a single contained shot balanced by the strength of the writing and performance of both actors created a striking film.

The MIFF films have not yet been judged but they are a tight set of nine with strong commonalities which are also reflected in the previous winners, though The Diver is the only one of the earlier winners in all categories which turns up here.

The trends

As we discussed in the Mukbang moment, two of the winners so far come from non-Anglo cultures, and made films in their heritage language. That multicultural thread is very strong, along with a more subtle tendency to see character more in terms of culture as well. There is a kind of tender anthropology which is showing through.

There is a kind of tender anthropology which is showing through.

There is enormous assurance as well. Directors who are really confident in small gestures based on acute observation. Rhythm is firmly under control, which means stories can change pace hugely in a short time, loosening out to meditation and coming back in for the psychic shock.

There is faith in actors, who are given plenty to work with and respond from their hearts. There is great work with children, and a capacity to reach out to age. These are knowing films with a sense that learnt technique is being transformed into individual voice. 

The gag film is not dead but dissected, mummified and left in a museum. The lunge for a climax and an ending has gone too. We can trust being in their world.

The gag film is not dead but dissected, mummified and left in a museum.

From this we get a real sense of the fun of production and these pictures, even though they are often really simple, are rich in production details. There’s a lot of good producing in this, of setting priorities and listening and finding the great stuff to put in the frame. They tend to feel as if the people involved are being treated with respect, and that is really important.

They are taking advantage of the creatives around them, of good actors with controlled bodies and concentration, who carry rich interiors. We seem to have come full circle to the hand held camera, but it is being used to find and hold detail rather than create movement while actors have the courage to let the machine become intimate. Those long following shots are tough to do. Ditto for cutting and production design, and music which can work its own magic to stand against a scene rather than intensify the mood. 

The other obvious factor is that most of the people involved come from our key tertiary film and television organisations including AFTRS and VCA . They have wider backgrounds, with international travel and work in the sector. 

The role of shorts in building careers

A director with these abilities, with this taste, with this sense of genuine growth in character, of the limits and twitches of personality, can do pretty well anything technically. Shorts will always work to advance careers as long as they are showcased on the festival circuit.

I suspect filmmakers are getting better at finding agents and managers. It may be that the most important screening of a great short is in some high rise office to make the first industry connection in Sydney or Los Angeles, London or Singapore or maybe Berlin.

Shorts will always work to advance careers as long as they are showcased on the festival circuit.

There is a sense of increasing purity to our festival shorts as they retreat from genre and excited imitation. We would expect that each generation gets better than its predecessors at the entry point to the arts, and many filmmakers embraced systematic learning but there is probably another reason at play.

The entry point is now shared by web series, and that is a whole different and more anarchic space, more embedded in popular culture, and aiming at broadcasters rather than film production. That dual development strand is very valuable in itself. It kind of liberates art. 

MIFF is still showing its shorts packages which also cover international, animation and documentary shorts. Until August 23.

My Life in Lockdown: Author/Presenter Dina Gerolymou – Neos Kosmos

Dina Gerolymou came to Australia from Greece in 1992 with a bag of poetry books and some music records.

Since then she’s etched a career for herself in journalism and has worked for most multicultural medium, including Neos Kosmos and SBS.

She is also a published author of poetry as well as a non-fiction book, The Battle of Crete: The Untold Stories.

We caught up with her to see what life has been like during lockdown:

What have you been reading?
I am catching up on fiction and revisiting my favourite writers. I am rediscovering The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, a book with rich imagery and magical realism to be savoured. I love the Spanish speaking authors, they are master storytellers.

READ MORE: My Life in Lockdown: Q&A with Ana Koutsouroupas

What are you watching?
Just finished the 3rd season of The Handmaid’s Tale and started Gigantes and Upper Middle Bogan. Season 2 of Babylon Berlin is next.

What music are you listening to?
Depends on the mood. At the moment it’s the Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia – an amazing work that recreates the sound produced in the magnificent cathedral hundreds of years ago. I found a podcast with the story of an American professor who is researching sound. She managed to get into Hagia Sophia when it was empty and record sounds. She then created a “filter” which was applied to various hymns chanted by a choir. The end result was Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia. In the podcast she said that “it’s beyond this world what the sound is trying to communicate”!

READ MORE: Life in Lockdown: Q&A with actress Olympia Valance

What are you cooking?
I made cultured butter (thank you Angela Nicolettou)! I am branching out to other dishes that haven’t tried before, like bread in a Dutch oven, and continuing my experiments with infusing flavours in rizogalo, so far I had great success with chai, cardamon and lemon.

What is keeping you sane at the moment?
The thought that this is an opportunity to create a better world for everyone. Time to understand and take action towards what matters most: people, their wellbeing and their happiness. It’s sinking in that you can’t have healthy people on a sick planet. Other things that keep me sane is my family, and our pets, especially Minie, my daughter’s cat – hours of fun!

READ MORE: My Life in Lockdown: Q&A with Professor Vrasidas Karalis

What is work like for you now?
Working from home and loving it. It was a steep learning curve but it was well worth it. The absence of the daily commute and the million small distractions that eat into your time allow headspace for creativity, focus and contemplation. Although I miss the stimulating environment of a multicultural place, I like the mind-shift and resourcefulness required to be able to maintain workflows and standards.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since COVD-19 entered our lives?
The last few months have given a new dimension to the concept of communication. People are turning to the simple pleasures in life and rediscovering the joy of leading an uncluttered life. In all the conversations I had with various people there is an underlying realisation that we can live with less (shock – horror) and still maintain our quality of life. I will not be surprised if we see a come back of old fashioned ways of connecting.

What have you learned about yourself during COVID-19?
My ability to binge-watch TV series and movies is greater than I thought.

READ MORE: My Life in Lockdown: Q&A with Greek dancer Dimosthenis Manessis

What have you learned about yourself during COVID-19?
My ability to binge-watch TV series and movies is greater than I thought.

What’s the first place you’d like to visit in Greece once travel is allowed?
That’s a tough one! I’d say Laconia where my parents’ in-law live in a small village by the sea close to Monemvasia Their balcony overlooks orange and olive groves with the sea in the distance. There’s a most magnificent view of the sunrise from that balcony where I spent many mornings drinking coffee.

Australia: Music Awards, Jenny Morris, Anti-Sexual Assault Tool & More – Pollstar

Baker Boy

Australian Music Awards Get Widest Reach In Virtual Format

Multiple Australian music awards were forced to go online because of the pandemic, but still found a positive result. 

Music NT, organizer of the Aug. 8 National Indigenous Music Awards said, “We created the largest audience in the event’s (17 year) history.” 

Live sets from home and the 7,000-seat Darwin Amphitheatre were broadcast on National Indigenous Television (NITV), free-to-air multicultural channel SBS, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter as well as numerous radio networks.

Highlights over two-hour program were rapper Baker Boy’s three wins (including artist and song of the year), elder statesman Archie Roach’s album of the year gong, his late wife Ruby Hunter inducted into the hall of fame, and Midnight Oil closing the night premiering new land rights single ‘Gadigal Land’ with First Nation artists Kaleena Briggs, Bunna Lawrie and Dan Sultan.

The July 29 West Australian song of the year awards in Perth, reached 5,000 viewers from streamed on social media pages of organizer WAM, rights group APRA AMCOS, Nannup Music Festival and of various artists.

Three-time winner Carla Geneve’s ‘2001’, named after Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey, cited by her as a childhood pop culture escapism, took the song and rock categories.

Morris Calls For Government Support To Raise Australian Music’s Global Profile

Jenny Morris

The federal and state governments must do more to increase music exports from A$195 million ($139.7 million) to A$7 billion ($5 billion) singer songwriter Jenny Morris said in an Aug. 5 speech to the National Press Club in Canberra. Morris is also chair of rights group AORA AMCOS.

“While most of our larger trading partners celebrate and support their creative industries with healthy local content quotas and investment, ours have been traded away, and capped in our US free trade agreement,” Morris said.

She suggested a dedicated governmental music export policy, songwriting skills taught at school, protecting cultural infrastructure like live music venues and incentivizing music production and performance across all media platforms.

She also recommended more appreciation of music’s economic value. “The federal and state governments have invested heavily in our screen industry, and we have globally recognized food and wine industries. 

“The contemporary Australian music industry is yet to achieve its potential. We need a clear vision. And I think that vision should be for Australia to become a net exporter of music.”

A panel discussion followed with artist manager John Watson, singer songwriter Gordi and rapper L-FRESH The Lion, and a performance by singer Ngaiire.

Watson’s clients include Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, Missy Higgins and Silverchair, said the biz needs government aid now more than ever.

“The house is on fire,” he said. “The reality is that, unless and until there is some certainty around the return to live performance, that’s a large chunk of most musician’s lives, so we’ll continue to struggle.”

‘Don’t Be That Guy’ – Aussie Biz Launches Anti-Sexual Assault Tool

Don’t be that guy
The surfacing in recent weeks of sexual harassment and assaults in the Australian music industry generated a campaign for safer workspaces. 

Posts by musician Jaguar Jonze and stylist Michelle Pitiris of their experiences, led to others coming forward. These included 51 complaints about a single photographer, who quit the biz.

The Music Industry Collaborative Commitment is set up as a resource – for instance, via screenshots or posters hung on the wall – for use before setting up meetings as writing or recording sessions, photo-shoots and rehearsals. It was compiled after community and specialist consultation, including reps covering ability, POC, First Nations, LGBTQI, Trans*, womxn and age.

Campaign co-founder, Sydney artist manager Mick Walsh, said of its tagline Don’t Be That Guy, “We’ve made a conscious decision to use the word ‘guy’ in this context. This is largely a men’s issue, and we’d be remiss not to acknowledge that.”

Fellow co-founder Poppy Reid is managing editor of The Brag Media (whose titles include Rolling Stone Australia and The Industry Observer) and was part of the meNOmore Open Letter campaign set up post-MeToo#.

Reid noted: “This is inclusive and it’s backed by our music industry community. We’re all aware change is needed. We’re all aware change is coming. I just hope this plays a part in that.”

American Express Injects $1m Into Biz Via Fund

American Express will inject a further A$1 million ($716, 468) into the Australian music industry as part of its Music Backers program. It offers grants between A$2,000 ($1,432) to A$50,000 ($35, 823) for artists and businesses with fresh ideas. 

Applications for the latest round end late November. But Amex research found that while nine in ten punters “believe the music industry is an important contributor to the national economy and a key part of Australian culture,” fewer than a third are “willing to spend more, or travel farther, to support the local industry through the pandemic.” 

As a result, its judging panel of industry execs funded a number of initiatives working to keep live music in front of fans during the lockdowns. These were weekly livestreamed festival Isol-Aid, Dinosaur City Records and interview shows Isolation Hour and Tambo Talk.

One of the judges, Live Nation CEO Roger Field, observed, “The way the sector has rallied together during these challenging times has been encouraging to see, with many changing the way they do business in order to service and entertain their communities.”

Live Nation Pushes Rod Stewart Back To 2022

Live Nation rescheduled Rod Stewart’s 12-date Australia and New Zealand The Hits! from October and November 2020 to the southern autumn of 2022. 

Six of the Aussie shows were in vineyards as part of Roundhouse Entertainment’s A Day On The Green series, with two in Napier in New Zealand.

The new dates are Sandalford Estate, Perth (March 12), Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne (March 15 and 16), Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong, (March 19), Roche Estate, Hunter Valley (March 26), Centennial Vineyards, Bowral (March 27), Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney (March 30),  Sirromet Wines, Mount Cotton (April 2 & 3), Forsythe Barr Stadium, Dunedin (April 6) and Mission Estate, Napier (April 9 and 10).

Ticket Scammer Gets 5-Year Prison Stretch

A 35-year old with a gambling addiction who scammed Ed Sheeran fans in 2018 of A$2,100 ($1,504) worth of non-existent tickets, was jailed for 5-and-a-half years in Brisbane District Court. 

Ho Man Stephen Yeung also fleeced A$157,768 ($113,037) from buy-now pay-later service Oxipay and A$50,000 ($35, 824) from a man he met on an online forum for Lotus car enthusiasts. 

HMTC This Week: Will theaters survive COVID? – Hanford Sentinel

Silvia Gonzalez Scherer 

Mama Mia, is theater going to survive 2020?

Theaters across the country are doing their best to modify their programming during the pandemic. Locally, Kings Players instituted a readers’ theater that can be accessed on their website. A theater company related to them, Golden Chain Theater in Oakhurst, is doing live performances through Facebook.

In Hollywood, where a wonderful dotting of small theaters had thrived in the last 15 years, are closing, or going dark in reluctant succession. New York’s Broadway went dark immediately. The Hollywood Fringe Festival, which was slated for June 2020, first rescheduled to October when the state mandated a shut-down, then cancelled their 2020 annual event to 2021.

I have gotten to know the administrators of the Hollywood Fringe through their mentoring HMTC via a diversity scholarship. They were reluctant to cancel the festival since many of their theaters and the local businesses thrive financially on the event.

In San Francisco, theater colleagues of mine closed their doors with postponements and cancellation early on. As you might remember, San Francisco was the first in the state with the shelter-in-place mandate.

I was affected professionally. Two play productions of mine that were scheduled in the heart of San Francisco were postponed. Teatro Latino, and the Clarion Performing Arts Center, which is a predominately Asian performance showcase, closed for the duration.

The San Francisco’s Moment Improv Theater’s founder, Marcus Sams, postponed their shows from the onset. He said, “I don’t see it happening until 2021.” However, his theater took their improv classes online with a clever technological technique. He recreates a stage online with avatars representing the students. He is still perfecting that system with Zoom.

My pals at the Groundlings do a weekly online improv show called “The Crazy Uncle Joe.” It can be accessed through a Zoom link for $8. You can see Stephanie Courtney, who plays the Flo character in the Progressive commercials, do improv with gifted colleagues.

Theater departments at colleges have put their productions online when it became clear there were to be no stage performance. It worked somewhat for an audience to get the gist of the theater department’s production. It certainly made the parents happy for the activity.

As a playwright myself, I would rather put my plays on a shelf. Zoom was not intended for theater performance. It is, however, the best alternative for actors. Actors must act.

Hanford Multicultural Theater adjusted programming by creating a theater podcast. It also accepted digital submission to do the annual Hanford Monologue Slam. It went international and participants came from Australia, Columbia, England, Canada along with coast to coast submissions. Two New York casting agents were involved in the judging which was a plus for the actor participants.

Across the theater world, dismayed administrators search for alternative ways to sustain their theaters. They use websites to keep audience interest and ask for donations. Theaters have overhead pay. Frankly, the future is unknown for theaters.

The Hollywood fringe administrators have the best attitude I have seen so far. “We will come back bigger and better in 2021” said Ellen Der Herder, the programs director at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. They have a huge following and by June 2021, the hunger for the festival will be immense.

Yet, there is a worry that theater companies in general might not make it to 2021. In London’s West End, the musical “Mama Mia” is scheduled to reopen in 2021. Let us hope they do. Let us hope theaters in our homeland do, too.

Silvia Gonzalez Scherer is the Executive Artistic Director and co-founder of the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company. She is also a playwright and an actress. 

Eid-Adha Carnival heralds return of cultural festivals to WA – Mirage News

  • LiveLighter Multicultural Eid-Adha Carnival at Burswood Park tomorrow
  • First major cultural festival held in WA since onset of COVID-19
  • McGowan Government supports popular Eid-ul-Adha celebration with $35,000 
  • Western Australia is set to host its first major cultural festival since the onset of COVID-19, with this weekend’s LiveLighter Multicultural Eid-Adha Carnival to take place tomorrow (August 8) at Burswood Park.

    Co-ordinated by the Australian Arab Association, the free public family friendly carnival will include international cuisines, music, entertainment, performances and children’s rides.

    Western Australia’s strong management of COVID-19 has allowed outdoor public events with large gatherings to take place, ahead of the rest of the country, with attendees reminded to continue to practise physical distancing and maintain good hygiene.

    The carnival is a celebration of Eid ul-Adha, one of the most important festivals on the Muslim calendar. It will provide an opportunity for everyone in the community to learn about and enjoy the spectacular and diverse cultures and traditions of Western Australian Muslims.

    This year’s LiveLighter Multicultural Eid-Adha Carnival is supported by the State Government with $35,000 through Healthway and the Office of Multicultural Interests.

    More information about the Eid-Adha Carnival and others happening around the State can be found at https://www.omi.wa.gov.au

    As stated by Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Paul Papalia:

    “This year’s Eid festival takes on a special significance as the first major cultural festival to be held in WA since the onset of COVID-19.

    “With the State having moved to Stage 4 of WA’s roadmap for the careful easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the event is able to take place, with everyone planning to attend reminded to practise physical distancing and good hygiene.

    “Because of WA’s culturally diverse communities, we get to participate in the best of the world’s celebrations right here at home with community festivals bringing family fun, excitement and new cultural experiences to everyone.

    “The Western Australian Muslim community continues to grow and play a key role in making WA an ever more vibrant and exciting State.

    “On behalf of the McGowan Government, I wish all Western Australian Muslims and their families Eid Mubarak during this important and joyful time.”

    /Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.

Colombian-raised, Oscar Jimenez is now one of Australia’s foremost pioneers of Latin music – Beat Magazine

We catch up with the esteemed Oscar Jimenez.

Oscar Jimenez is the definition of a music chameleon, having appeared and collaborated with a number of acts across his career. Born in raised in Colombia, Jimenez moved to Australia where he is now based, yet Jimenez is always on the move. He’s toured everywhere from Japan to South Korea, Malaysia and throughout South America. You might know him as a member of ARIA-nominated Watussi or Amaru Tribe, while he’s also forged a successful career under his solo pseudonym.

We caught up with Jimenez before his appearance as part of The Boite’s Song Appetit series on Wednesday August 12. Throughout COVID-19, The Boite has continued to stage digital gigs and performances as part of ‘Adapt, Not Cancel’, their new initiative providing artists with paid gig opportunities when they need them most.

As of early July, the series had garnered 35,000 views online and had supported 65 artists and 15 audio and video techs.

Beat: For those who aren’t across your music, tell us a bit about Oscar Jimenez?

Oscar Jimenez: I’ve done a lot of different styles in my career however my South American roots have a strong pull in my compositions. My main instrument is guitar and vocals but in the last few years I’ve incorporated a lot of more folkloric instruments like the Gaita (Colombian flute), Charango (Andean stringed instrument). I also get a lot of inspiration from my travels and love mixing rhythms like cumbia with Asian instrumentation.

Beat: 2019 was a big year for yourself – an appearance at SXSW with your band Amaru Tribe was accompanied by international tours of Thailand and Colombia. It must have been exciting to have these opportunities. How was your 2020 shaping up before COVID-19 hit?

Jimenez: We had a few festival invitations locally and possibilities in Latin America and Europe, which we had to postpone. Last year’s tours opened the door to create and launch new music including a few recordings I did in Colombia with a local band called Phonoclorica and which I’m really excited to finally release.

Beat: Artists are now faced with an incredibly unique situation and have lost most if not all of their work. How have you been travelling with it all?

Jimenez: Yes it’s been challenging for many living of live music. I really miss the interaction with the audiences and touring to new places. Financially, I’m grateful I do have a casual job at Multicultural Arts Victoria, which I also enjoy and has kept me in good health. At the same time I’m aware of the struggles for many artists out there. Especially from culturally-diverse communities, international students and so on.

Beat: Have you been able to keep yourself busy during the downturn? If so, what have you been up to?

Jimenez: Yes it’s been an opportunity to reinvent myself. I produced a lot of my music in Pro Tools for years but since the pandemic, I got the opportunity to try Ableton and haven’t looked back. I loved the way the creation process flows. Currently I’m also finishing an album for a new electro-folk project called ChibCha Sound System and an EP with Amaru Tribe.

Beat: It’s also an interesting period for artistic imagination. How has the pandemic affected your creativity when playing or writing music?

Jimenez: Since you are not working in the same room with other musicians a lot of the creations have become very intimate and personal. I’m sure there are many musicians out there who love isolating themselves to create and I’m a bit like that. When I’m producing alone I give myself permission to try the most stupid things, which sometimes can be best on a track, or I would explore instruments I’ve never played before.

Remote collaboration has also been a new thing that I’ve started to do with other producers.

Beat: What’s in store for your upcoming show for The Boite’s Song Appetit series?

Jimenez: I’m doing a combination of acoustic tunes plus some looping and electronic explorations. I’m also be playing some traditional Colombian songs to bring some joy to the community that’s been missing home in this moments.

Beat: Tell us a bit more about how you got involved with The Boite.

Jimenez: I think this is probably the first official concert I’ll be doing for The Boite so I’m really honoured and grateful for their invitation.

Oscar Jimenez will appear live as part of The Boite’s Song Appetit series on Wednesday August 12. Grab tickets to the event here. Find out more about The Boite’s ‘Adapt, Not Cancel’ series here.

Keep up to date with Oscar Jimenez via his Facebook page.

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What’s On 6 August – 13 August – Neos Kosmos

ONLINE

FREE ONLINE LECTURE: BIZIM PAOK – OUR PAOK: REFUGEES, SPORTS, AND VENIZELISM IN INTERWAR THESSALONIKI
The Greek Community of Melbourne is hosting an online lecture as part of their Greek history and culture seminars program. The lecture will be presented by French-Greek historian at the École Normale Supérieure Lukas Tsiptsios, who aims to do a social history of Thessaloniki in the Interwar period through PAOK, by following the paths of the Constantinopolitan elite that founded the club.
When: 6 August 7:00pm
Info: (03) 9662 2722 or email info@greekcommunity.com.au

FREE ONLINE LECTURE: CHANDRIS: BY SEA TO AUSTRALIA
Maritime illustrator and historical enthusiast, Michael Brady, will present a lecture about Anthony and Dimitri Chandris’ unlikely success as shipping magnates and the empire they built, the ships they operated and the many thousands of lives that were forever changed by Chandris Line and the arduous, 3-week voyage to Australia by sea after World War II.
When: 13 August 7:00pm
Info: (03) 9662 2722  or email info@greekcommunity.com.au

ONLINE SETTLEMENT SERVICES FOR NEWLY ARRIVED PEOPLE
In an effort to support the newly-arrived immigrants settle and find job opportunities in their new home, Pronia is continuing the project “Settlement Services for Newly-Arrived People” online, with morning and afternoon English language workshops.
There will be separate classes for people with intermediate, limited and no English language knowledge.
Info: Contact Pronia on 03 9388 9998

ANTIPODEAN PALETTE 2020
Titled In Isolation, the exhibition presents the work of 15 past Antipodean Palette participants during this time of physical distancing and self-isolation…Those wishing to view works created by the artists can now do so through the online gallery, hosted through Instagram, Facebook and the GACL’s website. Selected works will also be featured in the bilingual Antipodes Periodical 2020 edition which will be dedicated to the Antipodean Palette visual artists.
Info: Instagram – @gaclmelbourne and www.gacl.com.au

NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH MONTH LAUNCH
National Mental Health Month is an initiative of the Mental Health Foundation Australia to advocate for and raise awareness of Australian mental health. At this launch, presentations will be made to the winners of the Schools’ Creative Writing Competition and Art Competition 2020. There will also be an opportunity for you to sit in on formal addresses, on the Victorian government’s plans for mental health into the future and the current Royal Commission into mental health.
When: 1 October, 6:30pm – 8:00pm AEST
Where: Virtual on Zoom

AUSTRALIAN MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL 2020
This year the Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA) is excited to bring the festival magic at the comfort of your home. Presenting the Virtual Australian Multicultural Festival a package of incredible music, breath taking performances all just a click away. Prepare your festival outfits, stock your fridge, gather your crew virtually and get ready for #Australianmulticulturalfestival2020. To make your festival experience even better, you can also be involved, by partnering, sponsoring or performing in the event, for more info email admin@mhfa.org.au.
When: 3 October, 11:00am – 2:00pm AEST
Where: Virtual on Zoom
Info: admin@mhfa.org.au

VIC

GREEK CYPRIOT YOUTH OF MELBOURNE
Membership applications for GCYM are now live. The organisation promotes shared Cypriot and Greek culture and creates a platform for youth to socialise with the community
Contact: tinyurl.com/joincypriotyouth or email cy.apostolosandreas@gmail.com

NSW

GREEK LESSONS
Greek lessons for adults via Zoom or small classes organised at Greek Bilingual Workshop.
When: Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Beginners to advanced intermediate. Reading groups, conversation and vocabulary. Skype lessons available
Costs: Group lessons from $25; $65 at the bookshop, $75 from home
When: Lessons held Mondays, Tuesdays Wednesdays
Where: Online or 837 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill
Contact: info@bilingualbookshop.com.au or call 0400 436 079

Raashan Ahmad Talks With PopMatters About His Place in ‘The Sun’ – PopMatters

The Sun
Raashan Ahmad

B-Sides

30 August 2019

An unknown entity in many hip-hop quarters (despite his prolificacy), Raashan Ahmad has been game in trying all sorts of odds and ends to get to his means – which, in this case, is an emotionally-wrought and funkified form of rap. Ahmad, the former MC of hip-hop collective Crown City Rockers, introduced himself as a viable rapper independent of major-label constrictions with his solo debut The Push in 2008.

Ingeniously designed by a host of hotly-tipped producers, The Push gave Ahmad an electric platform to showcase his breathless, passionate rhymes. Full of pumped up, bass-heavy jams, the rapper’s debut made little waves across the mainstream, but an impressionable dent in hip-hop’s underground. The optimism continued on 2010’s For What You’ve Lost (2010), in which a shinier brand of funk cohorts with sharper-edged hip-hop share their talents. Vibrant pop hooks, jazz horns and live percussion coalesce on numbers like “Sunshine”, “Beautiful Ugly” and “Pain on Black”.

Still prowling the margins of larger success, Ahmad’s convivial nature would see him through a slew of collaborations including France’s DJ Wax Tailor, earning him a healthy amount of face time on televised live shows, performing alongside the DJ. Still looking to make his mark beyond the insular circles of hip-hop’s underground, Ahmad plugged away touring and recording, traveling the globe and picking up collaborative prospects and influences along the way.

Then along came 2012’s Soul Power (given a limited reissued release in 2019), which injects ’70s soul funk into the electronica-inspired hip-hop, boasting appearances by the likes of Aceyalone. At once a soothing meditation on Afrocentric musics as well as a club-friendly crowd-pleaser, the album aptly showcases Ahmad’s ability to explore the roots of hip-hop with sincere passion while expanding its perimeters with musical experiment.

Photo by Raashan Ahmad (Press photo: Courtesy of the Artist)

Always keeping abreast in the global sturm und drang, the rapper would keep his poet’s eye on the pressing issues of war, famine, and poverty, penning numbers rife with drama and strained soul for the politically-edged Ceremony (2013). Alternating between folky, intimate musings and heavy hip-hop plods, Ceremony would lead the artist (after a nearly six-year hiatus from releasing solo material) toward the varied stylistic brew that is his latest, 2019’s The Sun.

Ahmad brings his irrepressible charisma to this short set of Afrobeat-influenced hip-hop (eight cuts in all). The Sun, the rapper’s fifth studio album, bristles with a kind of energy that isn’t urban but rather subtropic, interpolating these influences into his music as deftly as a practiced musician should. Ahmad’s gift of verse works the friction of a bard’s heart, his concern always the message and never unnecessary flights of fancy rhyme.

His even greater gift is an ear for melody and rhythm. The Sun sports a deliciously chunky groove, most notable in the percussive romp of “No” and the Afro-pop bounce of “I Got Life”, the album’s two heart-pounding numbers of djembe-drum cool. Elsewhere, Ahmad investigates a lusher marque of his soul-searching funk; “The Day the Sun Came” features nouvelle chanson maven Keren Ann in a turn that has the rapper trading his spoken word for her throaty croons.

He extends that reach on the Pharoah Sanders-inspired “Pain Away”, slipping Farfisa funk and free jazz into the throb of the heaving hip-hop. Full of sun indeed, and always proliferating a triumphant and joyful noise, Ahmad’s latest effort is the paradise of white-sand beaches, best appreciated in the thickest of winters.

Describe your childhood, please.

My childhood was great. I moved a lot, but grew up on the west coast in L.A. with summers on the east coast in New Jersey. My dad was a DJ, so the house was filled with music. Funk, soul, and jazz was a staple in my house and outside hip-hop was happening among the beautiful community and the gangs and crack epidemic that permeated the time.

At what age did hip-hop capture your imagination and how did that happen?

Hip-hop seemed to be always there. I can’t remember a time really where my imagination wasn’t captured by hip-hop, although I can safely say being a little kid driving in my aunt’s car with her blasting Eric B & Rakim‘s album Paid in Full was a moment I remember being fully excited and present. A more conscious love would come later when a bunch of hip-hop albums revolved around Africa medallions and black consciousness.

This would break the spell of school systems that had taught me black peoples history began at slavery. I stood taller and so did my friends. That was revolutionary.

You came to prominence as part of the Crown City Rockers collective. How did you all come together? What are your memories of your experiences working in that collective?

Most of the band members went to the Berkeley college of music in Boston where we met and formed. Through jam sessions throughout the city we formed with a love for exploring where our differences would meet musically. I joined the band (initially called Mission) through my friend and amazing MC, Moe Pope, who asked me to join the band.

It was one of the best experiences, not only in music but in life. Working with musicians, I learned so much about songwriting and melody and arrangement, not to mention the live show aspect. We toured so much and have countless stories of all things. We stopped playing together as frequently but all remain really close friends.

The Push is your solo debut. I feel this album did a lot for you, in terms of establishing who you are as a hip-hop artist. It took your music to a more roots-based hip-hop, though it was still a very contemporary work. Tell me about writing and recording that album, and its particular sound.

That album started as more of a journal. I had moved to L.A. and, with the rest of my crew in Oakland, I was just writing in more isolation than I had in previous years. Even with the live band, I always held a deep love for traditional hip-hop and the elements of the culture which includes turntablism.

Adding on to that, it was the first time I alone was to be in charge of picking beats for an entire project. With me dealing with the death of my mom, the killing of a good friend, the birth of my son and more, a lot came out in that album. I’m still really proud of my growth as a writer on that project.

Soul Power and Ceremony explore more soul and funk elements. It didn’t exactly return you to your work in Crown City Rockers, but with these albums you were trading on a lot of ’70s R&B sounds. Tell me about this development in your work on these two albums.

Absolutely. I thought of Soul Power as more of a mixtape than an official album. It was released during the height of the mixtape era and it felt really freeing to get to just rapping without the pressure of having it be an official project. I gathered beats and made that pretty quickly.

Ceremony, on the other hand, was a more conscious approach to making my “long” album. I had so many ideas I wanted to express on that album and it was the start of a shift in thinking and creating. I had a bigger part in producing that album. I went from previously just getting beats to having a hand in how the tracks were arranged and additional instruments added over the beats. It was the beginning of me thinking bigger as far as getting the sounds in my head out into my music.

For What You’ve Lost is your most accessible work to date. It features appearances from Aloe Blacc, Gift of Gab and Count Bass D. What does this particular album mean to you?

After The Push, I toured the States heavily but it was hard to see a viable way for me to make music my career anymore. On my last tour for that I album, I did a show in my hometown of Oakland and not one person showed up. I quit music that night and the following morning DJ Moar from France emailed to ask if I wanted to tour in France. That tour and the audience I didn’t know existed changed everything for me.

DJ Moar asked about putting out my next album and with that momentum I created For What You’ve Lost. It’s a celebration and a sadness that fills that project. Also, a lot of excitement in discovering a new way to think about not only making music but touring and being well-received internationally. I toured Japan, Australia, Europe, Brazil ,and more from that project and all that traveling around the world expanded how I thought about everything.

Photo by Raashan Ahmad (Press photo: Courtesy of the Artist)

Your latest The Sun is probably your most adventurous, in that, you look toward influences outside the American continent. How did you go about parlaying the sound and culture of Africa into this album? Was it in your travels that you met the other players on the album?

It was traveling and experiencing so much of the music that made this album. The year leading up to that album, I went on tour all around the world with the French producer Wax Tailor and I learned so much watching him and seeing different cultures.

Add to that going to Africa, where I ended up DJing at the first afropunk festival in Senegal, which again really changed so much for me. The rhythms and sounds and melodies just spoke to me so much. I wanted to figure out how to fuse all that I was experiencing, to create something unique in my experience as a b-boy who ended up traveling the world through hip-hop and, along the way, picked up some new “samples”.

You worked with French pop singer Keren Ann on The Sun. How did you get to working with her?

We did a show together in Paris and after the show she invited me to a performance she had the next night. Since then, I’ve performed at her shows and she sat in on mine as well. We just became fast friends. It was all really natural. Plus, I just appreciate her musicality and humanness. She’s the best.

You are a prolific artist, working as a recording artist for close to two decades now. But your work isn’t as well known in the US as it is in Europe. Why do you think Europe “gets” your music in a way that the US doesn’t always?

I really have no idea. I’ve thought a bunch about that but I’m not sure what it is. I’m just grateful that anyone anywhere gives my music a listen and I’m thankful I’ve been able to support myself and family doing music.

You often find yourself recording on smaller independent labels. Have you been courted by the majors? What are your ideas on writing and recording on a larger platform?

I have never been approached by a larger label. I think whatever works for the artist and whatever is best for the art to be created is the way to go. I do dream about what I could create if I had all the resources, though…

If you are touring the album for The Sun, I’m interested in the live set-up. What does the live band look like, since it has co many cultural influences?

I am touring and it’s so much fun! The band changes if I’m doing clubs or festivals but always has a core of drums, horns and keys. The way I look at it is through the lens of hip-hop. Anything can be sampled but the thread comes from the artists presenting it. I change the show because I love the challenge and stay excited about expressing. But at its core, with all its influences, it’s hip-hop. Beautiful, dynamic, multicultural, soulful, truthful, vulnerable, hip-hop.

Related Articles Around the Web

Scan Through Tourism Space: Ten Things that you might have missed – Kalkine Media


Summary

  • Australia’s travel, tourism and hospitality sectors are severely hit in the face of COVID-19 crisis.
  • Domestic tourism on rise; Tourism Australia is now inviting businesses in its new Business Events Boost Program supporting industry-led marketing and distribution activities to help kick-start domestic business events.
  • Trans-Tasman travel still on hold due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Melbourne and the state of Victoria.

Known in the world for its ancient desert landscapes and coastal cities fringed with golden beaches and deep blue oceans, Australia is today famous for more than its iconic landmarks and faraway lands. Australia is home to the world’s oldest living culture. Since the past few years, the country is expanding its tourism horizons for visitors.

New experiences and places have opened up untouched destinations across the country with a bunch of new attractions to reflect on its multicultural history of the population.

But right now, Australia’s travel, tourism and hospitality sectors are severely hit as any other country in the world amidst grave health crisis.

Since March 2020, the country closed its international borders in land, air and sea, to avoid the spread of the Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Currently, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.

The cruise ship movement is prohibited until 17th September 2020, but this does not mean the ban will be lifted at that time.

The Australian Health Principal Protection Committee reviews the ban regularly, with the goal for Australia to have no community transmission of COVID-19.

Also read: Tourism Sector’s Challenges And Strategies During Covid-19 Crisis

Here is a look at some updates in the travel space that will determine the shape of the industry and its revival –

  1. Push to Domestic Tourism- While international borders are shut, Tourism Australia started a statewide campaign to promote local travel. It launched a special edition partnering with Australian Traveller Magazine ‘100 Ways to Holiday Here This Year’ to encourage and inspire Australians to experience the best of their country filled with amazing adventures. Tourism Australia is also inviting businesses in its new Business Events Boost Program, supporting industry-led marketing and distribution activities to help kick-start domestic business events.
  1. Travelling Virtually – In May, Live From Aus series was conducted on Tourism Australia’s social media pages to keep the hungry travellers enticed. Nation’s favourite tourism and entertainment personalities participated in the virtual extravaganza by offering some of the most exceptional experiences on Travel, food & beverages, Music, Art segments.

The series was a big success with Australians coming in support of the domestic tourism industry. But international travel is still one of the most discussed topics among travel enthusiasts. To curb the enthusiasm, The Aussie Specialist team in South East Asia rolled-out series of webinars featuring state and national tourism operators for travel planning in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Also read: Virtual Tours: Bright Spot for Tourism Industry

  1. New Focus on the Multicultural History of the Population – Australia tourism, with utmost respect and gratitude, is promoting the Aboriginal experiences to the travellers. It offers a real connection to the place and a new way of experiencing it. The natives are keen on sharing their story and provide an insight into their vibrant culture, allowing visitors to gain a deeper admiration for Australia.

The new focus includes an exciting array of activities such as tasting bush tucker, fishing, dot painting, kayaking to getting an in-depth look into the Aboriginal culture with experiencing healing powers of nature, discovering ancient rock art, genuine nature and cultural enthusiast will benefit.

  1. Trans-Tasman Travel Under the Spotlight– With majorly promoting domestic tourism across the state, Auckland Airport saw local passenger traffic improving last month. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern informed recently that due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Melbourne and the state of Victoria, the Trans-Tasman travel bubble is on hold. Victoria was declared in a state of disaster and Melbourne is under curfew. Australia now needs to register a continuous 28 days virus free with no community transmission to open the two-country travel connectivity.

  1. International Travel Impacting Revenue– Border close impacting international travellers coming in the state resulted in massive revenue crunch. According to the reports, 3,440 visitors arrived during the month of May, which is down to 99.6 per cent to the same period of 2019. For the year ending in May 2020, about 7.39m visitors arrived in Australia, a decrease of 20.8 per cent to the year 2019. 

  1. Aviation Sector To Bounce Back – Tourism Australia is playing a vital role in establishing aviation routes between Australia and critical markets through commercial partnerships. The tourism industry is trying to bounce back from the coronavirus crisis in a sustainable manner. As domestic tourism is on the rise, the airlines servicing local travellers gain brownie points in the situation. While, long haul flights are still on the pause, the planes getting back in the air will require government easing on the border restrictions.
  1. Jobseeker to Save The Day – Recently Australian Government announced the extension of the wage subsidy scheme to help the people affected by economic fall in the country. The move was praised by many as it will support many people who have lost the job in the Travel, Tourism, Hospitality industry.

An additional six months after the scheme ends in September is welcomed as a lifeline for the travel industry.

  1. The Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) – The Aboriginal community is worried about the virus spread in their region. Members of the group blocked entry to the visitors to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Park Australia to work with Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation, Northern Territory Government and Voyages and plan on additional health and visitors screening measures for Yulara township, at Ayers Rock Airport and departure points. The Northern Territory opened the borders for interstate travel on 17th July.
  2. Western Australia Tourism Industry Faces Decline – According to Tourism Council WA’s industry report, tourism activity across WA declined 26 per cent in June and July, compared with the same time last year. However, many towns and regions saw a busy school holiday.

Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall believes that the Western Australians are travelling and supporting domestic tourism businesses. It is still less business coming from interstate and international tourists. Hall is concerned about the future of the region once the wage relief scheme is over.

  1. UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Outlook – Its market intelligence report says International tourist arrivals witnessed a 44% dip in the first four-month of 2020 compared to the same period of 2019. But the tourism is slowly showing definite signs of cautious change in the trend in the upcoming Northern Hemisphere peak summer season. The difference is reflected in the gradual lifting of travel restrictions in several countries around the world.

Scan Through Equity Market Trends

The travel sector is under pressure after the recent lockdown announcement from Victoria. Also, rising coronavirus cases in New South Whales is a significant reason concerning investors. While, stock market trends deserve closer attention:

Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (ASX:FLT) is a retail travel agency with around 1200 outlets across Australia along with New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Canada and the UK. Its share price has gone down by 71.5% over the last six months, trading at $10.08, up 1.92% as on 4 August 2020 (11:22 AM AEST).

FLT plans to take additional funding to offset short-term pandemic disruption via Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility.

Alliance Aviation Services Limited (ASX:AQZ) recently announced expanding fleet with the acquisition of 14 Embraer E190 aircraft in agreement with Azorra Aviation LLC of the United States. The purchase will also include a significant package of related inventory, ground support equipment, tooling and training devices and six spare General Electric CF34 engines.

The total acquisition price is US$79,400,000, which will be funded from the proceeds of the placement and SPP announced by Alliance on 11th June 2020. The aircraft delivery will happen progressively over eight months starting from in September 2020.

AQZ stock has gone up by ~31% over the last six months, trading at $3.33% as on 4 August 2020 (11:22 AM AEST).

Apollo Tourism & Leisure Ltd (ASX:ATL) manufactures and provides a wide range of rental vehicles (RVs) like campervans, motorhomes and caravans on rent as well as via wholesale and retail options. As domestic travel is gradually reopening, the bookings have started to gain momentum.

ATL stock has gone down by ~42% over the last six months, trading at $0.200, up 2.6% as on 4 August 2020 (11:22 AM AEST).

How wearing a face mask can be triggering for trauma survivors – SBS News

As face masks become increasingly de rigueur for millions of people living in Victoria and NSW, trauma experts are warning that face coverings can be triggering for some.

The Blue Knot Foundation says masks can trigger previous trauma experiences for survivors.

The foundation, which is a centre of excellence for complex trauma, has released advice for trauma survivors on ways to help cope with having to wear a mask or interact with people wearing masks.

With the introduction of mandatory masks in Victoria, and other states increasingly advocating for their use, the foundation says it’s concerned for survivors of complex trauma.

“Many people with a history of trauma may be triggered when asked to wear a mask, or even when they see someone wearing a mask,” Blue Knot Foundation president Cathy Kezelman said on Monday.

“For other survivors it may reignite feelings of not being able to breathe, such as in the recent bushfires. Survivors may have been assaulted by a person wearing a mask and for others, the feeling of being trapped and helpless is all too familiar.

“It can cause feelings of panic and of being suffocated. So too is the discomfort of not being able to see another person’s face to help us read the non-verbal cues so we know what is happening,” Dr Kezelman said.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has already advised it accepts trauma as a valid reason for people to not wear a mask.

The Blue Knot Foundation has developed a list of strategies trauma survivors can adopt if they are required to wear a mask or interact with someone wearing a mask.

It suggests limiting the amount of mask time and increase it gradually, decorate your mask, breathe slower and deeper, play soothing music, meditate, walk, take baths and stay connected to friends.

Readers seeking support with mental health can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. More information is available at Beyond Blue.org.au. Embrace Multicultural Mental Health supports people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. 

Metropolitan Melbourne residents are subject to Stage 4 restrictions and must comply with a curfew between the hours of 8pm and 5am. The only reasons for Melbourne residents to leave home during these hours are for exercise, to shop for necessary goods and services, for work, for health care, or to care for a sick or elderly relative.

The full list of restrictions can be found here.

All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus