The quiet of the last few weeks, on GS, was just the backstage of the roaring thunder of Ms Gorilla managing no less than 6 jobs and one full-time university degree, adding up to something approximating 100 hours a week. If you think that this is bordering on literary figure and/or surrealism, well: there’s your answer to my absence from writing lite thoughts about current affairs and my feet.
In the last few weeks I have done such an extraordinary amount of work that it’s a wonder I haven’t dropped dead. (As our beautiful days incorporate morning thunderstorms and painfully hot nights, I am reminded that I have truly adapted to Melbourne. When I first moved here, I spent the entire 2006 limping from flu to flu, my body in utter confusion about the 5-minute turnaround of seasons.) I have co-authored a paper, produced a short film, and held a research project together around these activities. I have been designing three websites, finished one, and prepared a book for print. I have interviewed, written, read, edited, commissioned, liaised, responded. Meanwhile, just to spice things up, I’ve had to somehow resolve a housemate crisis, lease crisis, Centrelink crisis, general home-economics crisis (huge), enrolment crisis, multiple-technology-breaking down crisis, and a personal crisis, each one bigger than the other. I have learned to read Social Security Law, which is more than the average person does in order to get social security. I also have a couch guest at the moment, but Fanny is a lovely, calming presence in this apartment that sometimes resembles an erratically steered raft in the Bermuda triangle.
However, in this chaos of duties, responsibilities and transferable skills, I’ve discovered the blessing that people with stable moods are. How vastly overrated psychological instability is!, how inappropriately deemed a sign of creative genius! These weeks have been made bearable, if not somehow enjoyable, by the continuous presence of many wonderful people in my life (you know who you are), people whose general emotional maturity I could count on. Good lesson. Important.
Onto the news:
by now everyone knows that Dance Massive has started, a two-week dance fest that will certainly keep those of us who tire of language happy. There will be in-depth coverage, here on GS, on Spark Online, and elsewhere. I would enthusiastically recommend Inert, were it not sold out. Other things of interest include Morphia Series, by Helen Herbertson and Ben Cobham (see my review of Sunstruck) Chunky Move’s high-tech Mortal Engine, and Sydney’s Fondue Set with No Success Like Failure, on which David Williams wrote beautifully here. Splintergroup, an offshoot of Ultimavezesque Dancenorth, are down from Queensland, with lawn and the charmingly titled roadkill. The website claims the latter was developed with Sasha Waltz and Guests, which alone is a recommendation enough.
At Gasworks, Sandra Parker’s extraordinary Out of Light is going until 7 March: you have three nights left to catch it. At La Mama there are two nightfuls of Wretch left, with the inimitable Angus Cerini and Susie Dee. If you’re into another kind of unrealism, National Theatre in St Kilda is showing Don Giovanni by Victorian Opera, directed by the man-legend Jean-Pierre Mignon, and it’s absolutely fabulous. Samuel Dundas, whose debut as a principal singer this role I believe is, is an extraordinary Don G, cocky and damned equally, making it all infinitely more credible than MTC’s scandalous Don Juan in Soho (although the latter added drugs, urban squalor and yuppidom in search of verisimilitude).
Arts House, my favourite venue in town, will soon have My Darling Patricia down from Sydney, with Night Garden, and Hoi Polloi far-down from the UK with Floating. Both look delicious, but I am biased towards hybrid performance. More information on the Arts House website.
On the more text-heavy side, Malthouse is soon opening Goodbye Vaudeville Charlie Mudd, a highly anticipated return of Lally Katz & Chris Kohn to the city. Combining Julia Zemiro with the historical research into vaudeville, this should prove very popular with the general audience. I am hoping to see it some time later, as my rarefied interest in non-dancing dance and silent performance, and body and memory, and so on, keeps me occupied. But oh you should all go.
Yet the most exciting news, to the urbanist me, has been the launch of Creative Spaces (a week ago, but, hey, 6 jobs). More than a very pretty website, it has been conceived by the City of Melbourne as a sort of match-making service, trying to connect every vacant space in metropolitan Melbourne with an artist looking for a studio, performance space, or a storage corner. You can advertise a space, or a need for space.
While this is a hugely practical, useful set-up, it also marks a commitment by the city government to take care of its creative communities. The project was fancily launched in Boyd School Studios, former JH Boyd Girls High School at 207-221 City Road Southbank. Local government has bought the object from the State gov, and refurbished it into studio spaces. This is likely to be a temporary settlement, while the future of the site is negotiated into either another housing condominium, or, as the local residents are pushing, a community centre (don’t get me started). Even such, it’s a very positive, if small, step towards making life on a shoestring easier in this city.
This is all from me for a while. It has been suggested to me to start a calendar of events on this website, keep tracks of openings and such. To add that to my weekly schedule, though, I would seriously need to employ an intern, or a subcontractor.
But we will finish, as usual, with a pop song you are unlikely to have ever encountered: Alina Orlova, from Lithuania.