The Wall Comes Down

November 9, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, POLITICS |

Wall Up 13 August 1961: East German police and troops occupied the dividing line between that Soviet satellite and West Berlin, to stop the hemorrhaging of its citizens to the West of that city. Four days later, they started building the Berlin Wall. President Kennedy put US forces on alert and took diplomatic steps, but copped criticism for what was tagged a weak response. Possibly 200 people were killed trying to get over the Wall from the East to the West; probably many more of the tens and tens of thousands making the attempt over the years were dealt with…

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Russian Roulette

(by Michael Isikoff and David Corn) (2018) This is an absorbing, readable and – remarkably – balanced account of the 2016 US election and the possible effect of Russian or Russian-sponsored hacking and disinformation. The existence of actual collusion between the Trump campaign and Putin’s apparatchiks relies on a number of guilt-by-association inferences, commercial ties with Russian oligarchs, and meetings attended by the numerous idiots connected with the campaign. Ultimately, the authors leave open the question both of direct collusion, and of the causative links of Russian meddling to Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Which is not to say there isn’t plenty…

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MONA

November 6, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA |

November 2019 MONA (The Museum of Old and New Art) in Hobart, is a must-see. Crouched on a promontory on the Derwent River, it can be approached from land – by car, dedicated bus, airport shuttle, or bike for the insanely fit (or insane) – or you can take one of the two Mona Roma ferries ($22 pp), as we did, a 20 minute cruise going under the infamous Tasman Bridge and featuring a nice little bar (our cab driver from the airport recommended this, saying, presciently, “You’ll need a drink before you see the Art.”) The Gallery itself sits…

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The Dark Master

November 3, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Oz Asia Festival Space Theatre, Adelaide, October 29, 2019 (Director: Kuro Tanino) Japanese rural inns are a mainstay of horror films and video games.  The Dark Master merges these genres when a hapless young backpacker (Koichiro FO Pereira) is bizarrely inveigled into running a once popular bistro in an undefined area of Japan (possibly Osaka).  The former proprietor (Susumu Ogata), who may or may not have operated the inn for the last 30 or 35 years, disappears upstairs and issues instruction to his apprentice, via earpiece. The young traveller, who has never so much as boiled an egg, learns quickly…

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Wagner Returns (in shimmering gold and black)

November 3, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WAGNER |

Wagner Gala, Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, Tasmania, 2 November 2019 TVC descended on gloomy, beautiful Hobart for the much awaited return of Nina Stemme, currently the world’s greatest soprano (only the 2nd person to be awarded the Birgit Nilsson Prize, for those for whom awards matter), with the great bass baritone John Lundgren, who gave us a night of selected Wagnerian hits in concert format. Stemme made a big splash in Hobart in 2016 singing excerpts from Tristan und Isolde with Stuart Skelton. No Tristan this time unfortunately, but the programme was ideally suited to the leads: The Wotan and…

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