INTERVIEW WITH GRAVITY AND OTHER MYTHS MEMBER JASCHA BOYCE

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At the end of last year I was blessed to have a run of assignments with Scenestr including a week where I saw five performances and one film. At the end of that week a last minute opportunity came which I was lucky enough to be able to seize. I’ve reached another milestone with Scenestr by completing an interview that went on the cover of their Western Australia December edition. On Wednesday night I saw contemporary circus group Circa perform in Brisbane and believed it to one of the best shows I saw last year. A top 5 would include Queensland Ballet’s Raw, Tim Crouch’s England, Circa, Randy Writes A Novel.

Having just been thrilled by Circa‘s performance it seemed appropriate to now get to interview an actual performer. Gravity and Other Myths are Adelaide based and perform around the world. I interviewed Jascha Boyce as part of press for their upcoming performances in Perth as part of Fringe World. It was fascinating to hear from Jascha how as one of the founding members they have sought to maintain a close family dynamic in the group and her own history as a performer. I couldn’t have asked for a more interesting and patient interviewee as she went through her craft, her fellow performers and their priorities in the world. There is a courage and a vulnerability in circus performers as they perform for us putting their bodies on the line but also risking failure and yet maintaining such disciplines and nerves of steel that they always seem to nail it. You can read my interview here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/a-simple-space-filled-by-circus-company-gravity-other-myths

There were 3 more interviews I did before 2018 for Scenestr which will feature soon. This was the last thing to be published in 2017 though and was a real thrill for me to cap off the year in this way with a cover story. I really can’t believe my luck, I feel so grateful for this. I went to the offices to wish the team Merry Christmas a couple of weeks ago and feel so grateful to contribute to what is an amazing group of talented individuals. It is one helluva thing to produce a street press magazine in 2017 in the Australian market and keep it viable and grow it online in other mediums but this is what these guys do and there’s no shortage of what I could learn from them. Bring on a 2018 where I hopefully continue to contribute to and get so much from the awesome gang at Scenestr.

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Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. You can read see a digital version of the printed Western Australia edition here http://scenestr.com.au/read/WA/2017/9-WA/scenestr-WA-09.html where Gravity and Other Myths are featured on the cover and my interview with Jascha takes up page 10 and 11. The Western Australia edition only started up in May 2017 and only with such an expansion I guess could such an opportunity had been made possible. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

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CIRCA’S ‘HUMANS’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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What a week it was, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday I was on assignment with Scenestr to check out shows at Wonderland Festival, comedian Alex Williamson and Woody Allen’s new movie Wonder Wheel. Recuperating on Tuesday I went along to see Circa on Wednesday at Queensland Performing Arts Centre. My first assignment given to me by Scenestr magazine was to go see Queensland Ballet’s Raw in 22 March, 2017 at QPAC. As we come to the end of the year such coincidences feel appropriate to me. Karen took me to see a performance from Circa with the Brandenburg Orchestra earlier this year so I knew we were in for a treat.

As we began to watch last week, I have to admit I was genuinely enthralled. I believe contemporary circus maybe one of the great art forms going at the moment and quite simply a show from Circa is the best thing to see in Brisbane at the moment. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/circa-humans-brisbane-review-qpac-20171208

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

Thank you for your continued support and reading, I’m not able to blog as much as I used to including reading my fellow bloggers’ posts. It’s been one hell of ride this year getting to write for publications and share it with you all. The next day an opportunity came up to interview a contemporary circus performer which I was lucky enough to get to do so it made one heck of a busy 7 days. I look forward to sharing that story with you in the near future.

–Lloyd Marken

ALEX WILLIAMSON, NATH VALVO AND HEROISM AND SIDEKICKERY REVIEWS AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The second and final weekend of the Wonderland Festival was a rollercoaster ride of up and downs. Having seen Love/Hate Actually on Thursday night I set off to attend a concert by stand-up comedian Alex Williamson at the Old Museum before returning to Wonderland for the rest of the weekend.

I love going to see stand-ups, in fact a lot of the shows I saw at Wonderland were comedies or comedian shows. The Old Museum in Brisbane is not far from where I used to work as hospital wardsman many years ago. I’ve been there over the years when they had the French Festival there, to see my sister in law perform as a member of Queensland Wind and Brass, it is the home of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. There were no elderly volunteers serving homemade scones with tea this night though. Karen and I approached two young women at the canteen who told us no food was available but would we like a drink. No peanuts, no chips, nothing, nada. They kindly told me where the nearest eating venue was and we ended up getting some nice truffle chips before racing back to the venue.

We found a good spot with twenty minutes to go until the allotted time of 7:30pm. I whispered to Karen that the show would most likely start at 7:45pm. As time went on I began to notice most of the audience was younger than us and Karen did not approve of all the baseball caps being worn indoors. I’ve never really cared for that absurd protocol and enjoyed the lively atmosphere of people kicking back after a hard week at work ready to laugh. A few dared each other to race out and grab another drink having already finished the one they had by 7:35pm. Sure enough the show kicked off at 7:45pm and within a minute Karen had gone stone faced. I leaned in and told her I had to stay to review the show but if she wanted to leave -she could but she didn’t.

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I was faced with a conundrum, this was the first time I had really seen a show for Scenestr and not enjoyed it. I wanted to express that but I also wanted to be fair to the comedian who had allowed us to attend his show to give an honest and fair review. Alex Williamson is extremely popular, engages with his fan base, commands attention on stage and give his all. Most of his comedy for me though lacked depth and rarely made me laugh. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/alex-williamson-brisbane-review-the-old-museum-20171206 I actually believe Williamson is very talented and could mature into a comedian who makes me laugh one day.

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Which brings us to Nath Valvo, a stand-up we saw at Wonderland Festival the next night. Like the puppet Randy the week before I laughed quite a lot through Nath’s routine. Valvo’s audience was full of people of all different ages, backgrounds, etc. We all laughed together in recognition of so many truths that felt familiar to all of us. Of course the key was wit, timing, delivery, pacing not just insight. Comedy is a tricky thing to review, repeat some of the jokes and you’ll spoilt them with your delivery and lack of context, over analyse too much and anything ceases to be funny. Its hard to explain what is funny but you know it because people laugh and if it isn’t funny they don’t. To that end wasn’t Alex Williamson just as funny then. Well not to me and therein lies the rub. Given I saw them one night after the other and had such different reactions it was fascinating to compare the two but in the end that’s just coincidence. I found Nath Valvo really funny and you can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/nath-valvo-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171204

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The next day we saw Nath again on a sunday afternoon before going to see the final show I was to attend at WonderlandA Modern Guide to Heroism and Sidekickery. Conceived and performed by Michelle Zahner with some help from the audience it was a humble intimate piece that poked fun at comic book tropes while delivering a heartfelt message of the little ways we can be heroic in our own lives. I’m curious to see how the show could expand without spoiling what makes it so special. Zahner has such a likeable engaging stage presence that I think no matter what the piece will remain charming and smart. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/the-modern-guide-to-heroism-and-sidekickery-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171205

I felt really lucky to attend all the shows I got to see and review and/or review at Wonderland and hope to get more opportunities in the future.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

LOVE/HATE ACTUALLY REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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My attendance at Wonderland Festival continued last Thursday evening where I was fortunate enough to attend Love/Hate Actually put on by the Act/React theatre group. The show starred two friends arguing the merits of the classic Richard Curtis film Love Actually which has become a perennial Christmas tradition. Something I couldn’t see in 2003 but completely makes sense in hindsight. It’s a film that is relatively light, moves fast, has a lot going on and a stellar cast. As long time readers may know, I’m a huge fan of Richard Curtis, the first post made on this blog was about his film About Time. So it was impressive to find that a critical dissection of the film had a wealth of good points to be made. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/love-hate-actually-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171201

The two stars Amy and Natalie are also fixtures in the group ImproMafia whom do Improvised Comedy Sketches. I was fortunate enough to review a show of theirs’ earlier in the year lampooning Games of Thrones, called Lord of the Thrones at Metro Arts. I attended Love/Hate Actually with an old friend and afterwards we went out for chips and a drink post-show. As I relayed this information to her and how great ImproMafia was I came to notice that the group seated at a table behind her were ImproMafia. As we got up to leave the two stars of Love/Hate Actually arrived to celebrate with their friends a successful opening night.

Lord of the Thrones featured the danger and joy of live improvised performing. Love/Hate Actually was a more meticulously constructed performance that still feed off the energy of the crowd. I found it funny and whip-smart and enjoyed every second. Not for the first time did it occur to me what incredibly talented people work in the arts around my city and maybe not always with it being their primary job. I am so grateful for such people.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

‘RANDY WRITES A NOVEL’ AND ‘WASTELAND’ REVIEWS AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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Currently the Wonderland Festival is running at the Brisbane Powerhouse and like the Queensland Cabaret Festival earlier this year at the same venue Scenestr put the call out to their contributors to suggest some shows they would be happy to attend and review. Previously for the Queensland Cabaret Festival I was lucky enough to see Soldier’s Wife. This time around I am to attend and review five shows Randy Writes A Novel, Wasteland, Love/Hate Actually, Nath Valvo, Heroism and Sidekickery. They are not the only shows running too, check out the program here https://brisbanepowerhouse.org/festivals/wonderland-festival-2017/ if you’re a local.

On Friday night Karen and I saw Randy Writes A Novel which probably features one of the bigger names of the festival with Randy ( a purple felt puppet) doing a stand up routine that asked some big questions about narrative structure and the purpose of art. God it’s good to laugh. You can check out my review here http://scenestr.com.au/comedy/randy-writes-a-novel-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171127

On Saturday while Karen worked, I went to see Wasteland with her best friend put on by Flipside Circus. Think Cirque Du Soleil but with the performers aged 9 to 16 and set in a post apocalyptic future. You can check out my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/wasteland-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171127

I also went and saw the cabaret There’s Something About Mary(s) starring Cassie George and musical director Luke Volker on piano. I was fortunate enough to interview Cassie for Scenestr in the lead up to Wonderland and was excited to see her show. A low key affair with one piano and a singer on stage I enjoyed the show. George is a talent through and through and her repartee with Volker kept the show moving. She certainly knows how to belt out a tune and he is excellent at tickling the old ivory. I kept wanting something deeper and more insightful from the finale but the show reflects a search that is ongoing about how to be our best selves and maybe that is why I felt some lack of fulfillment because it reflects the show’s ideas. Either way I will look out for shows from them in the future, it takes guts and panache to do what she did and honey she did it well. You can check out a review of the show from another Scenestr writer here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/there-s-something-about-mary-s-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-20171129

Wonderland runs over two weekends. I’ll be attending further shows starting Thursday. Have a great week everyone. Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts including festivals, stand-up comics, fashion, theatre and film. I feel very fortunate to get to write for them.

-Lloyd Marken

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25 POSTS WITH SCENESTR

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After seeing Raw starting a tradition of Grilled Burgers while on assignment. Copyright Lloyd Marken

 

I’ve been published 25 times with Scenestr Magazine since they accepted my review of Hidden Figures and put it up on their website on the 23rd of February, 2017.  Of the twenty five, 6 have been interviews which have all been featured in their print magazines around the country, 11 have been either preview or film festival screenings of movies and 8 have been productions seen in theatres.

Some friends were kind enough to send some copies of the Sydney print edition which was where my first interview was published. Also Karen at BIFF 2017 with a Brisbane copy we found. Copyright Lloyd Marken.

When the first one was published I was over the moon, I wondered if could I do it again, when they sent me to see the Queensland Ballet performance Raw I was tickled pink to see my ticket envelope marked Reviewer. I wanted to get that review just right.

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Tickets for Queensland Ballet’s Raw. Copyright Lloyd Marken

I wondered if I could get five reviews published? What if I could do an interview? What if I got published with another magazine? What if I could get published in the print copy as well as online? I’ve found answers to these questions and found new questions to ask. Where this journey ends others ask me sometimes in very rude ways but I give them no answers. I have plans but what comes of them is not nearly as important as remembering how lucky I am to have had even this. They have a blog now at Scenestr listing everything  I’ve had published http://scenestr.com.au/blog/Lloyd-Marken I’ll continue to publish here for my fellow bloggers to get updates on what’s happening with my work for other magazines. Hopefully this will continue but this all started here with the blog and with you. So I thank you.

-Lloyd Marken

Some of the places we’ve been and things we’ve seen. Copyright Lloyd Marken.

INTERVIEW WITH ‘THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY(S)’ WRITER AND PERFORMER CASSIE GEORGE AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to interview the talented and beautiful Cassie George. She is about to perform her cabaret There’s Something About Mary(s) as the part of the upcoming Wonderland Festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

George is a consummate performer and has been developing the cabaret for the past twelve months with different showings. It is based on her own experiences of dating and having a “gaggle of gays.”

I always get a bit nervous before interviews but Cassie has a good sense of humour and I only wish we had gotten to talk more. Especially about different kinds of scatting. Any locals to Brisbane should definitely check out her show. You can read the interview here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/there-s-something-about-mary-s-at-wonderland-festival-come-on-over-cassie

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They also publish magazines in print for Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane every month. A digital copy of the latest QLD print magazine including a edited down to fit version of my interview with Ms. George on Page 44 can be found here http://scenestr.com.au/read/QLD/2017/1098-QLD/scenestr-QLD-1098.html#p=44 The magazine is focussed mostly on music gigs, festivals, stand-up comics, fashion and interviews with local and international bands. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts.

-Lloyd Marken