The Shanghai Mimi Band

June 18, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, MUSIC, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 17 June, 2022) Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s was “The Paris of the East, the New York of the West,” at least in popular myth, and in old Hollywood films: where elegance rubbed shoulders with depravity but always in a well-dressed way: glittering gowns, elegant cheongsams, dinner suits and white mess jackets, accompanied by a range of recreational poisons. And the night clubs along the Bund (the Shanghai waterfront) provided the venue, salted with the haute and the louche, and sugared by the Chinese chanteuses and hot bands playing French torch songs and shidaiqu (時代曲), a…

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Il Bacaro

June 13, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FOOD, Restaurants, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TRAVEL |

(168-170 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, 20 May 2022) A Homage to Bacchus This lively, lovely little joint Has been going strong since ’95, It’s tiny, dark and crowded space Is always filled, and comes alive. So you should always be prepared To book, and get there right on time; You may cool heels at the well-stocked bar, But the drinks there are sublime. And after a grand snort or two, You’re deftly guided to your seat: An expert waiter, with no airs, Will help you work out what to eat. *************************************** THIS TIME AROUND WE HAD: Ostriche al naturale (6…

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Davina and the Vagabonds

June 12, 2022 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Modern Music, MUSIC, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 11 June, 2022) [Davina and the Vagabonds, late to town thanks to post-Covid chaos in international flights, appeared at the Cabaret Festival on Saturday night, drawing from the past 100 years of American music, from Fats Domino and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits. Reportedly, Davina has been compared to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday and Betty Boop, but in order to verify, The Varnished Culture had 2 guest reviewers in attendance who know a thing or three about past and contemporary music in this Dawning Age of Aquarius….

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‘Nothing Better than the First Attempt’: Cabaret Life Drawing

June 11, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Cabaret Life Drawing, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 11 June 2022) A very pleasant hour passed in the Cabaret Festival’s Spiegeltent on the Festival Centre Plaza. This was a life drawing session (not really a lesson, more like a brief taste with a light touch). The assembled throng, their creative impulses enlivened by a glass of wine and some piano and bass versions of songs such as Puttin’ on the Ritz, Tea for Two and All of Me, attempted to depict model Letitia, striking various classy poses in an elegant gown (see below). It was conducted by Adelaide Central School of Art…

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Ray’s Song

June 8, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM |

Ray Liotta (18 December 1954 – 26 May 2022) [With apologies to Sir Walter Scott] Ray Liotta, rest! Thy career’s o’er, Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking; Battle the Field of Dreams no more, No days of danger, nights of waking. **** No rude sound shall reach thine ear, Guns or Cop Land‘s horses champing; No wise guys are summoned here Mustering clans, Goodfellas tramping. **** In the red-cushioned cinema row, Where fairy strains of music fall, You were our great anti-hero, Star dust sprinkled in the hall.

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