INTERVIEW WITH EDM EXTRADINAIRE OPIUO AND THEATRE DIRECTOR BRAD CHAPMAN AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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2018 kicked off with a bang for me in terms of writing for magazines when I got the opportunity to contribute to the cover story for my hometown’s edition of Scenestr. This was a great opportunity and a thrill for which I’m grateful to Opiuo and to the team at Eyeball Media Enterprises.

Rather than the usual phone interview I provided a series of questions to be e-mailed to the electronic music producer and then received his responses. Opiuo’s answers were thoughtful, passionate and fascinating making the piece a great read. You can find it here http://scenestr.com.au/music/opiuo-is-making-your-inner-cheeky-child-dance It’s an honour to have my name attached to such a piece where others made it what it is. Two cover stories in two months is a real privilege.

Two Covers

Also during the Christmas break I got to speak to the director of Beenleigh Theatre Group’s latest production Lord of the Flies which is opening this Friday night for local readers. Chapman was a delight to speak to and provided some excellent discussion about what fresh angles this new production of such a well known text will bring. You can read the interview here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/lord-of-the-flies-survival-of-the-fittest-in-beenleigh

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Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 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 Queensland edition here http://scenestr.com.au/read/QLD/2018/1100-QLD/scenestr-QLD-1100.html where the Q&A with Opiuo features on page 10 and 11 http://scenestr.com.au/read/QLD/2018/1100-QLD/scenestr-QLD-1100.html#p=10

Scenestr42and the interview with Brad Chapman can be found on page 38 http://scenestr.com.au/read/QLD/2018/1100-QLD/scenestr-QLD-1100.html#p=39 Scenestr43

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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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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THE YEAR THAT WAS 2017 ON LLOYD MARKEN WORDPRESS

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Following on from last year I’m doing a quick recap of stats for 2017 which I always find a little interesting. This year the site has seen a few changes, a lot of posts now refer to reviews I’ve had published elsewhere and don’t include screenshots or gifs from movies which may attract views. I don’t know. My stats have gone through the roof due to the large interest shown to a post I did on the movie The Founder which I think got placed on a site by WordPress that increased traffic to the post. At the same time I haven’t engaged with my fellow bloggers or sought to grow my blogging community and so you’ll see number of likes has decreased as a result. All I can say is I enjoy my current blogging community and the size of it and am grateful for their continued interest and I want to remain able to keep up with them semi-regularly and so don’t worry a lot about getting new followers. Always nice to grow though. I have some plans for 2018 but I had some plans for 2017 and not all of them came to fruition so we’ll just see what happens.

The United States retains the crown for most views this year, the United Kingdom comes second place after barely coming in third last year with Autralia now in third place. Congratulations to Canada who remains in fourth and has cracked over 1,000 views for the year. It was hard fought but Germany cracks the Top 5 this year. Spain, Brazil and France all fall out of the Top 10 this year. A post I wrote about a good man I knew who passed away saw an uptick in views from his homeland of Malaysia and one of his favourite countries in the world Japan. Goodbye Kelly Chen, you will are so obviously missed by so many far and wide. I’m particularly touched to see my post has resonated with those who knew him best. Any mention of Taika Watitti sees an uptick in New Zealand view. Congratulations to Indonesia and India who cracked the Top 10 this year, hope you’re enjoying the blog.

 

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Top 10 Most Views by Country

  1. The United States of America                                                                               9,126 Views
  2. The United Kingdom                                                                                              2,339 Views
  3. Australia                                                                                                                   1,848 Views
  4. Canada                                                                                                                      1,057 Views
  5. Germany                                                                                                                      166 Views
  6. Japan                                                                                                                            163 Views
  7. Indonesia                                                                                                                     120 Views
  8. New Zealand                                                                                                               113 Views
  9. India                                                                                                                             100 Views
  10. Malaysia                                                                                                                         92 Views

 

stats 2017

 

Out of 105 posts published for the year the following 25 got the most views. In 2015 the blog started to grow with 1,609 views, 333 visitors, 23 Likes and 30 comments. In 2016 the blog received 5,673 views, 3,206 visitors, 546 Likes and 751 comments. In 2017 this grew to 16,767 views (more than a third of which were for The Founder Review), 11,891 visitors, 1,240 Likes and 1,707 comments. This was helped in no small part thanks to the support and interest from my fellow bloggers.

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Top 25 Most Viewed Posts 2017

  1. Ray Kroc…What An Asshole                                                                                5,992 Views
  2. Goodbye Kelly Chen and Thank You                                                                    303 Views
  3. Minor Roles That Had A Major Impact – Lucy From Going In Style               187 Views
  4. Extras Who Add A Little Something – Kathy Larson and Missy Wolff           141 Views
  5. The Appropriately Titled Jack Reacher: Never Go Back                                    131 Viewstime jack nothing reacher
  6. Review of Young Australian Filmmaker Shorts Available on Scenestr         127 Views
  7. Extras Who Add A Little Something – John B. Destry                                         112 Views
  8. Minor Roles That Had A Major Impact – Dr Lamar from Gattaca                     89 ViewsRelated image
  9. Minor Roles That Had A Major Impact – Stephanie from The Naked Gun      89 Views
  10. Star Character Actors: Stephen Tobolowsky                                                         85 Views
  11. Best Dressed Award Season 2017 Part I                                                                 85 Views
  12. The Mystery Blogger Award Nomination                                                               84 Views
  13. The Seven Ages of Clint Eastwood                                                                           80 ViewsImage result for honkytonk man clint eastwood
  14. The Long Overdue Film About Jadotville                                                               76 Views
  15. Hugh Jackman as The Wolverine                                                                             72 Views
  16. You Can’t Keep A Good Kong Down Even If You Should                                     72 Views
  17. Star Character Actors – J.T. Walsh                                                                            71 ViewsImage result for j.t. walsh young
  18. Over 1,000 Views for The Founder Review                                                            70 Views
  19. Major General John Cantwell – Hero, Veteran, Human Being                            69 ViewsImage result for major general john cantwell
  20. La La Land: A Modern Musical                                                                                 68 Views
  21. The Seven Ages of Harrison Ford                                                                             67 ViewsImage result for harrison ford WITNESS
  22. Spider-Man: Homecoming and Atomic Blonde Reviews Available at Buzz    66 Views
  23. My Favourite Films of 2016                                                                                       65 Views
  24. Minor Roles That Had A Major Impact – Jaguar Owner from Speed                 64 Views
  25. The Perspective of the Girl on The Train                                                                64 Views

As you can see the posts about extras and characters actors were very popular so I hope to bring them back in a way in 2018. Also I really liked the idea of doing the Seven Ages posts but unfortunately the time needed and the titles that have to be seen makes that challenging. Going through all the posts and figuring out what got most likes will simply take too long but please continue to like my posts if you like them because it is always a thrill for me when I see those little icons below the post. A lot of my posts were about reviews published elsewhere this year which seem to attract attention mostly from my long time core readers. Thank you very much for supporting me in these new ventures, it has meant a lot and I think also shows my editors that I do have an audience that I bring along with me. It really is appreciated.

For Your Consideration

Now it’s time for some shameless self-promotion where I point out reviews I’m very proud of from that year that you might want to check out. In going over the 105 posts for the year there were many I’m pleased with and glad found an audience but citing them seemed redundant. They are a time and place and people either read them then or will discover them later. Some of the posts I do on here now have become more personal whether it is me remembering BIFF or describing a recent holiday to Newcastle. 20171001_110615There are some reviews I’m proud of and some reviews I’m not. Yet again they either found an audience or they didn’t, people seemed to like the Tom Hanks Top 5 over at Heavy and had lots to say about my review of Dunkirk. My review for Queensland Ballet’s Raw and Hidden Figures at Scenestr will always have personal significance for me and I worked really hard for them to be good. I felt energised when writing about The Go-Betweens: Right Here than I was when writing about Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I enjoyed my list of Best Films for 2016 Image result for eye in the skyand look forward to doing one for 2017 once the bulk of Oscar releases arrive here in Australia. Come on Ladybird! I should take this opportunity to mention that 20th Century Women and Nocturnal Animals would have easily made the 2016 list if I had seen those movies at the time. I’m humbled to see the review of The Siege at Jadotville was met with approval from someone who’s father had served at Jadotville. If from my small corner of the internet someone has learnt a bit more about the Irish at Jadotville or the strength of Major General John Cantwell then that makes me very proud. In the end though I just want to say cite two pieces. The first is a review I did of the movie Fences, I just like my review which mentions something about one of my grandfathers. Image result for fences movieThe second… Many years ago I worked with a young man on the set of a film being shot on the Gold Coast named Vigilante. He passed away earlier this year and while I didn’t know him very well I was struck by thoughts of how he had lived his life. Not just personal career achievements but the measure of the man was in how he had treated others and enriched their lives. This is a legacy to aspire to and I tried to put into words my memories of him in a post. I would urge people to take a look if they haven’t. His name was Kelly Chen.

Well that’s another bunch of stats for another year. I would like to take this moment to thank you all for your continued support Pete, Cindy, GP, Don, Vinnie, Jay, Sean, Paul, Allen, John K, Michael, Jet, Eddie, Alex, Paol, Jordon, John R, SJS, DB, Emma, The Film Blog guy, Jersey Dreaming, Robin, Eric and anybody else who takes the time to read these posts. It would be helluva lot less fun without you all.

-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

WONDER WHEEL REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The latest film from Woody Allen has opened in Australian cinemas and we saw an advance screening last Monday night at New Farm Cinemas. It had been a few months since I’d been to New Farm 6 which I found charming and Karen and I didn’t miss the opportunity to trek to a nearby Pig’N’Whistle for dinner afterwards. Just up from the Valley, New Farm is choc-full of grand old buildings with history, wealthy yuppies and odd ball personalities. My work for Scenestr has made me more familiar with the suburb, in particular the Brisbane Powerhouse for which I am very grateful.

The opportunity to review a movie, any movie for a magazine is one that is heavily coveted by all contributors. I had just submitted three reviews the previous evening to cap off the Wonderland festival and was happy to be back on assignment that night.

Wonder Wheel is not one of Woody Allen’s best but it does show him continuing to try new things and features some great acting in a cast led by Kate Winslet. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/movies-and-tv/wonder-wheel-review-20171207

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

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