The Fencer

December 9, 2016 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
fence2

(Dir. Klaus Härö) (2016) A serious young mystery-man comes to teach at a provincial school, his friend’s advice to keep his head down reverberating in our ears, if not in his.  This is Estonia under Stalin, a particularly problematic satellite for that nefarious head of the Union of Soviet Socialist Repression.  The new sport teacher (Mart Avandi, in a quietly polished performance) might be of interest to Stalin’s goons, but with 30 to 50 million people to kill, they are flat-out.  So keep your head down teach, and don’t go near Leningrad! But while our hero isn’t looking for trouble, it has a way of…

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Contemporary Art in Crisis

December 9, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Ulalume |
Stix

The Varnished Culture has spoken before on this matter: see, for example, our ruminations concerning the Narrow Mind of Genius, Modern Culture, This Whiteley Business, and particularly, Onward! and Modern Art Theory. There’s something depressing in the relentlessness of the trend towards tossed-off, doctrinaire trash, and we regret to report that fair Melbourne has its fair share of it: see for example, the ‘installation’ (main image) that appeared, complete with safety-tape, adjacent Hamer Hall and the Arts Theatre this month. One would have imagined that modern art was overstocked with irony, the refuge of the lazy and the talentless.  But no,…

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Songs in Our Heart # 59

December 8, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |
EternalIce

Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime (The Korgis) (Written by James Warren; released June 1980) [Ah memories…this electro-strings-zither classic marked the end of the Glorious 1970s with a whimper, not a bang.  Beck did a nice version for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which caught that film’s zeitgeist.] x https://youtu.be/iNbdyPNdByM

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Götterdämmerung

December 8, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WAGNER |
There's nothing like wrapping-up a series with a wedding (even if it's a double-wedding from Hell)

There's nothing like wrapping-up a series with a wedding (even if it's a double-wedding from Hell)

(Opera Australia, Melbourne, December 7, 2016) (Dir. Neil Armfield) With Götterdämmerung, Wagner closes his monumental circle, and not in a particularly happy way. Or does he?  Why, after their interminable love play concluding Siegfried, does Brünnhilde send her lover off to do good deeds, a la Lucy and Ricky?  Why are the Norns just catching-up with the imminent fall of Valhalla, which Wotan and Erda would have told them about already?  Why, after drinking a Brangäne-inspired potion that moves him to marry Gutrune and kidnap Brünnhilde for Gunther’s convenience (an infamous act that he compounds by slapping her around and stealing…

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Songs in Our Heart # 58

December 7, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |
Image of Classical Gas by JLPons

Image of Classical Gas by JLPons

Classical Gas (Mason Williams) (written by Mason Williams; released 1968) [Such an influential instrumental piece that even yellow-faced, animated cartoon characters learnt to play guitar using this classic template.] x https://youtu.be/mREi_Bb85Sk

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