Playing With Fire – Staging “The Ring”

July 12, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History, HISTORY, MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, WAGNER |
wunderbar

[This article originally appeared in the Newsletter of the Richard Wagner Society of SA, # 282, July 2017] “When Art Meets Politics.” This was the essence of Dr. Peter Bassett’s text in a thoroughly entertaining and salutary talk to the Richard Wagner Society of South Australia on 18 June, entitled ‘Playing with Fire – the pursuit of a Wagner performance tradition in Adelaide 1995 – 2005’. President Geoffrey Siedel introduced Dr Bassett, who was uniquely placed to cover this topic, having completed a PhD on it, as well as being closely involved with the productions that comprised Adelaide’s Wagner Decade…

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In a League of Its Own / Straight Through the Middle

July 1, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History, AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE |
sanflFred2

An exhibition celebrating 140 years of the South Australian National Football League and SA Football (State Library, June – August 2017) The Varnished Culture staff set aside partisanship and went to these twin homages to local footy. An interesting congregation of photos, video, medallions, badges, guernseys, books, scrapbooks, committee minute-books and other memorabilia, we could have done with a bit more, but it was a piquant taste nonetheless. SA clubs at every level, several long defunct, featured in rich and diverse parade. In this winter of discontent, a little unbalanced reporting suffused with weary, wistful nostalgia for the Glenelg Tigers glory (or at least,…

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New Australians of the Year

NewAus

The Council of The Wise has announced a new category of Australian of the Year. Those eligible for “New Australian of the Year” are those great men and women from foreign forebears or other shores, folks whose lives were the template for, and reflect, the current splendid diversity that forms the Australian nation. Nominees can be alive or dead and must embody a facet of the country’s contemporary essence. Categories were submitted to the 2020 Summit (April 2008, which was designed by Prime Minister Rudd to “help shape a long term strategy for the nation’s future.”) Since then, over the last 8 years,…

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Uncomfortably Close…the Lawyer in the Freezer

Derrence

This story is one of the many lurid crime sagas that feature in staid and leafy-green Adelaide. And whilst The Varnished Culture staff all have impeccable alibis, this being Adelaide, we are far-away-so-close to the macabre events of 1979 and beyond. Unfortunately, it is one of several local causes célèbre where the jury’s verdict is in question because they may have been led to rely on tainted evidence – not corrupt evidence; just misleading, or dead-wrong. THE PLAYERS: Derrence Stevenson, specialist criminal lawyer (the victim); David Szach, Stevenson’s teenaged boyfriend; Dr Colin Manock, forensic pathologist, who gave crucial evidence at trial…

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The Worst Laid Plans

April 25, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History, AUSTRALIANIA, HISTORY |
Fish in a barrel

Fish in a barrel

April 25, 1915: The Gallipoli gambit As Robert Burns had written, to a mouse, a mere 130 years before, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft agley.”  So it was with the British venture into the Dardanelles. (We described this catastrophe in detail on the 100th anniversary). Described as “a brilliant idea in theory“* it was a complete botch in practice, the donkeys in British Army central-planning winging it as they went. After all, attacking fortified cliffs with minimal support, troops “pinned down on the rocky shore, unable to reach the top of the hills and move into open…

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