White mural delights Hastings residents

2017-01-09-14-29-02

In the Mornington Peninsula seaside town of Hastings, artist Simon White has charmed community residents with his beautiful new mural depicting scenes from the town’s history. The mural is the latest in a series of public art pieces created in this location since April 2014 as part of the ‘Adopt-A-Hotspot’ project, aiming to “prevent and reduce the incidents of graffiti and property damage in the Hastings community”.

This ‘Hotspot’, turned public art space, is a walkway between the Woolworths carpark and Main Street, beautifying the external wall of Terry White Chemist.

2017-01-09-14-34-03

The mural is made up of seven maritime scenes, separated by angular lines. Each one focuses on people, places, animals and boats that are key icons of Hastings’ heritage.

2017-01-09-14-31-44

These include the Mirabella family who arrived in Hastings in 1880; the Lothian family from c. 1890; Hastings Fish Shed built in 1866 and restored by John Wooley in 1988, accompanied by resident pelicans; a family in a fishing boat with dolphins swimming beneath the water; Jack Sheehan and his fishing boats; young people in swimming attire at Hastings foreshore c. 1907; and a scene of a fishing family building a wooden boat with one man proudly holding up the catch of the day.

This wonderful project was initiated by Councillor David Garnock in 2014 and continues to be supported by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (MPSC), Westernport Chamber of Commerce, Sheldon Headspeath, Brett Cardwell and Hastings Police.

2017-01-09-14-30-08

This project not only prevents property damage but enriches the cultural landscape of the area, contributes to wellbeing and gives all members of the community free access to the joy of art. As I was taking photos of the mural, several residents stopped to tell me how much pleasure the mural gives them as they walk through their town. Supporting the ‘Hotspot’ project indefinitely, as part of the Shire’s Cultural Strategy, will not only delight the community, but build a legacy of public art and historical acknowledgement in Hastings both present and future.

Copyright © 2017 Jade Barker

Howlin’ Wind blows through St Pauls Cathedral

arts-review-by-jade-logo-black-background_001Lunchtime concert from 1 – 1:45pm at St Pauls Cathedral, Melbourne

When I discovered that a flute concert was coming up at my favourite cathedral, I was excited to find out more. Perhaps I had been hiding under a rock during my career as a flutist, but I had never heard of flutist Howlin’ Wind (Andy Richardson).

Howlin’ Wind. Photo by Bruce Thomas

Seeking more information from the web, I was impressed to see 50 recordings to his name, spanning a 40 year period, with 48 of those recordings containing original compositions. I was even more delighted by online sound clips and discovering that Howlin’s music is very easy to enjoy. It is filled with atmosphere and is highly creative and highly original.

Though short, Howlin’s concert was uplifting and brought a smile to many faces. He brought along his friends Peter Daffy (acoustic guitar) and Bob Sedergreen (keyboard) and together they played a mix of tunes from Howlin’s ‘Great Ocean Road’ albums as well as some beautiful renditions of Christmas carols to suit the season. St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, was the perfect venue for the lofty melodies that sang and floated from Howlin’s flute, woven with keyboard and acoustic guitar.

img_2424
Howlin’ Wind at St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne

Using ‘simple’ melodies, Howlin’ uses his fine artistry to resonate the sounds of his flute and creates melodic lines that lilt and soar into the heavens. He colours these melodies with dramatic changes to very soft, sweet dynamics and uses ornaments and improvisation with various flutters, flourishes and trills to create very interesting music that is at once breathtaking, relaxing and beautiful. He even treated the audience to a complete change of woodwind sound, playing the pan-pipes at the beginning of one of his pieces.

img_2426
Bob Sedergreen, Howlin’ Wind and Peter Daffy

Howlin filled St Paul’s Cathedral with expansive, warm flute music that seemed to sparkle with the magnificent gold-illuminated image of Jesus’ crucifixion at the rear wall of the cathedral sanctuary. The most wonderful part of the performance, in addition to the creative and pleasing music, was the expression of pure joy that Howlin’ exuded during his performance. There is much serious music in the world, but it is truly inspiring to witness a performance that, while highly-skilled and beautiful, is played for the sheer joy of it. This is an essential part of the message that Christ brings to the world on Christmas Day – a life set towards giving love and joy can bring peace to the world. Thanks Howlin’, your music is a Christmas gift of peace and joy to the world.

More information on Howlin’ Wind can be found at http://howlinwind.com/, including his latest recording, ‘The Transcendental Flute Vol. 1’

Copyright © 2016 Jade Barker

Circus Oz – Intrigue, amazement, live music and laughs for all

Sunday 9 October 2016 at 1:30pm, in Frankston Arts Centre’s main theatre

Glittering in a silver A-line dress, a large spiky, silver fascinator on her head and sporting a baritone saxophone, musical director Ania Reynolds stood in front of the red velvet curtains. The show began with a few deliberate, wild honks of her instrument. The curtain was raised to reveal other musicians playing unusual-looking instruments. A musical game ensued, setting the theatrical tone for the show.

Image result for image of circus oz 2016

The drum kit player and keyboard player were positioned at the rear and centre of the stage and anchored the musical narrative throughout. At some point during the show, nearly all of the performers played various instruments. This not only added to the richness of the soundscapes, but demonstrated that the performers are capable of an impressive diversity of skills in addition to a great variety of circus acts. For example, I observed performer Matt Wilson, at various points throughout the show, play the guitar, juggle silver batons amongst a group, play percussion, balance on one leg atop chairs stacked seven-high, and perform tricks on vertical poles.

Of course, the show was not about what one person can do in isolation. Circus Oz created magic and intrigue by seamlessly bringing together performing artists and art forms to complement each other. For each circus act, a unique atmospheric mood was cleverly created with live music. I was impressed and delighted by the wide range of musical genres and atmospheres married with each act. Fun Latin rhythms met dancing and tumble turns through hoops stacked three-high; funk grooves set the tone for a clever display of baton juggling amongst a group of seven people; a hard rock beat backed a ‘fire fighter’ climbing a ‘hose’ rope suspended from the ceiling, performing death-defying tumbles and falls; sparse jazz, eerie toy piano or slow ethereal keyboard effects were used for more still acts such as slow acrobatics focussing on strength and grace.

circus-oz-2016

In true Circus Oz fashion, the performance content was subtly interwoven with themes relevant to Australian culture now. Hosting the show was a character wearing a jacket sequined with colours forming an Indigenous flag. References to gay culture, transgender and the ‘new age’ spiritual movement were dropped here and there. A character by the name of ‘Infinity Love Beads’, whose narrative throughout the show was to perform a convincing ‘levitation’, used clever plays on words for tongue-in-cheek digs at the ‘new age’ movement and the current generation. Mixing up words such as ‘terrorist’ with ‘tarot-ist’ and ‘entitlement’ with ‘enlightenment’ provided some laughs for the adults in the theatre. There were many opportunities for all-ages comedy too, with the use of good-old slapstick humour.

Image result for image of circus oz 2016

Having only seen Circus Oz perform under the big top prior to this show, I was interested to see how they adapted their performance for a much smaller theatre space. A large four-pronged, reinforced frame was arced high over the stage and this was used to suspend ropes, cables and trapeze. Though not immediately obvious to the audience, there was a strong person climbing up and down the structure like a concealed Spiderman, responsible for changing the various apparatus needed for each act, and using his body-weight to adjust the length of the cable suspended from the frame.

Though the show was packed full of quirk, amazement, live music and humour for all, I must admit that my favourite part of the show was more subdued, atmospheric and dance-like. After the interval, an intriguing percussion contraption was left in front of the curtain. On it, hung two drums, various bells, triangles, woodblocks and gongs. This contraption was played by three people to produce an eerie, ambient aura with string sounds, scrapes, ‘tocks’, gentle bells and cymbals. The sounds were used to respond sensitively to the graceful movements of a young man who was slowly twisting, turning, arcing and flexing his body on the floor to roll and cradle juggling balls around his body with ultimate control. It was a mesmerising display of sophisticated ensemble and movement, demonstrating the breadth of skill and artistic mastery that Circus Oz is capable of. For those seeking laughs and awe-inspiring spectacle, to those who enjoy fine artistry, Circus Oz 2016 is truly a show for everyone.

Copyright © 2016 Jade Barker

See Jett Effect play at Realm

If you visit Realm ArtSpace this coming Sunday 9 October from 1pm, you will be treated to the feelgood music of local duo Jett Effect. Feel the sun shine from your heart as you listen to uplifting originals and tunes you will know, sung sweetly by Jett Robertson with folk guitar played by her husband Mitchell. And it’s free!

2016-07-10-13-35-16

If you have lived in the City of Maroondah for a few years, you will have seen how Ringwood Square has been transformed into a beautiful, modern community space. This area has been renamed ‘Realm’, encompassing the local library, Council Service Centre, BizHub, ArtSpace and cafe. Opposite the Ringwood Train Station on Maroondah Highway, Realm is easily identified by the unique white walls that form large diamond-shaped crosshatches over a dark background.

img_8465

Walk in on the ground floor of this building and you will find the ArtSpace and cafe. There are free exhibitions of work by local artists, and musicians perform here regularly on a Sunday afternoon to an appreciative audience relaxing over a weekend coffee or having lunch with friends.  Children and adults alike can gather around to enjoy the free live music.

Dance your way into the Spring vibe with Jett Effect at Realm on Sunday 9 October at 1pm!

Check them out on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/thejetteffect

Copyright © 2016 Jade Barker

‘Inspired’ by Gary Lang NT Dance Company

Saturday 3 September 7:30pm at Cube 37, Frankston Arts Centre – 50 min. duration.

Gary Lang NT Dance Company, with dancers Catherine Young, Michele Dott, Bryn Wackett, Kara Handsberg and Darren Edwards, delighted a ‘family’ audience with two contemporary dance pieces. The first was an airy flirtation with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and the second, an earthy Indigenous exploration of the spirit realm.

gary-lang-nt-dance-mokuy

The synthesised music recording of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake with overlaid NT bird sounds in the first dance piece induced a wide, open-sky atmosphere reminiscent of the outback Australian landscape. The performers used classical dance influences with synchronised movements and black lace and tulle costumes to accentuate delicate swan-like gestures.

The second piece immediately exuded a transformation into a ghostly realm with the use of vivid lighting and dark shadows, gaunt expressions and the use of white, liquid body-clay. The wet clay was ‘dipped into’ throughout the piece to increasingly cover each other until the dancers and the stage were practically white. Entitled Journey of the Soul from a larger work, Mokuy, the piece expressed the post-death journey of the human spirit, drawing upon Gary Lang’s experiences with youth suicide in his community.

Digeridoo-like drones articulated with haunting Australian bird calls drew the audience into the earthy, sensuous dance movements. I was particularly stirred by the male-female duets in which each female dancer took turns intertwining with the male ‘spirit’ dancer.

The performance was followed by a Q&A session in which Gary, who identifies as a Larrakia man, explained that several of the movements used in Journey of the Soul are borrowed from traditional Indigenous dances that he has seen performed by his family. As these ‘borrowed’ movements are intensely meaningful to Indigenous people, Gary takes great care to ask the permission of his family as to how and when particular gestures can be used. Gary’s conversation with the audience, in which he declared that all people he meets are welcomed into his life as ‘family’, encouraged a feeling of connectedness to the Dance Company, our country and our communities. Gary Lang NT Dance Company’s performance of Inspired is a fine example of art that is not only uplifting, beautiful and expressive but encourages social unity by fostering warmth and openness between different cultures.

Copyright © 2016 Jade Barker

Cube 37 – your community, your creativity

Have you ever wandered down Davey Street and passed the Frankston Arts Centre? Perhaps you have visited the Centre to see a show? If the answer is “yes”, you may have noticed a smaller building right next door with a big, intriguing glass front and a sign that says Cube 37.

Cube 37 is a place where all members of our community – artists, art-lovers and art-curious people – can go to enjoy art, participate in art and create art.

There is a well-equipped, versatile performance space that can be hired out so that artists and community groups can put on their own shows and events.

Wooden, sprung floors for theatre and dance, and high-quality audio and lighting gear enables every show to be presented professionally.

A tiered seating system can be set-up to accommodate an audience of 194 or discreetly packed away for cabaret and other events where a large floor space is needed.

There is even a kitchen and bar area for pre-show drinks, backstage dressing rooms, an education room equipped with a projection screen and a large, outdoor courtyard.

World-class artists perform here regularly, often to sell-out audiences. You don’t need to be a professional artist to hire or visit Cube 37 though – just someone who is passionate about community arts, like we are! Community groups even receive a discounted hire fee.

The diversity of activities that occurred during a recent day in Cube 37 included the Gary Lang NT Dance Company rehearsing in the performance space, Karingal Training providing an education course in the labs and Dangerous Deeds exhibition opening in the foyer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you are someone who would like to participate in art, you are in luck! Cube 37 is home to a diverse and dazzling array of hands-on programs specifically tailored to community and school groups. There’s the Hip Cat Circus teaching circus skills to young people, and an exciting range of educational programs are available for school students. Depending on the season, there are workshops in craft, dance, bookmaking, storytelling and make-your-own artworks for people of all ages and abilities. This is just a taste of the broad range of workshops on offer.

For those who enjoy visual art or create it themselves, there are two art-spaces in Cube 37. The foyer displays free exhibitions all year round. The glass art space at the front of Cube 37, visible 24/7 to passers-by and motorists, allows artists the scope to create interactive, digital and projected artworks, as well as installations.

If you are enticed at the thought of perusing the latest visual art exhibition or displaying your own, building an artistic creation amongst like-minded people, seeing an exciting show or performing your own, visit Cube 37. It is a place where all members of our community can come together, develop skills and have fun through art. Cube 37 – your community, your creativity.

Check out the latest What’s On booklet from the foyer of Frankston Arts Centre or Cube 37, or visit the website for more information: thefac.com.au

Copyright © 2016 Jade Barker

Visit Frankston Arts Centre!

Frankston Arts Centre (FAC) is your local venue to see and participate in performing and visual arts. With 812 performances in the past year, the calendar is packed full of exciting events to suit everyone.

FAC operates from two buildings on Davey Street Frankston: The big green building above Frankston Library and Cube 37 right next door.

the-bonfire-crowd-night-shot

The Main Theatre seats 800 people and attracts big-name performing arts companies including Bell Shakespeare, Australian Ballet, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Circus Oz who perform at FAC on their regional tours each year. The brand new bar offers a great selection of pre-show and interval refreshments, as well as providing a priority line for members. It is also the perfect venue for schools to hire for annual performances.

The 194-seat, flexible performance space in Cube 37 sets the stage for intimate music, dance, circus and community performances. Cube 37 is your art space, offering a discounted hire rate for community groups. It is the place to indulge your artistic creativity, whatever your ability, and is home to an impressive range of art, theatre and circus workshops, including programs tailored to school students and children. This is your invitation to get involved!

FAC has visual art exhibition spaces in the foyer areas of both Cube 37 and the Main Theatre. With 73 exhibitions being shown in the past year, there is always something new and exciting on, and entry is free.

The function centre is well set-up for corporate events and private functions, catering for up to 500 people. It is also close to public transport and has an underground car park with 270 spaces.

FAC was designed by renowned Australian architect, Daryl Jackson, and was opened in 1995 by then Prime Minister, Hon. Paul Keating.

Visit the website for more information: thefac.com.au

FAC Facts

  • 152,000 visitors annually
  • 812 performances, 541 events, 73 exhibitions, 20 workshops each year
  • Audience: 36% Frankston residents, 64% Mornington Peninsula, Bayside, Ringwood and Gippsland
  • Part of Frankston City Council and operates under the Frankston Art Strategy 2011-2015
  • 39831 Check-ins on Facebook with 6474 ‘Likes

Copyright © 2016 Jade Barker