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If you are reading this, dear reader, I want to thank you. Thank you for being a faithful reader since 2010, thank you for loving my blog posts and sending me words of encouragement. If you’ve just stumbled upon my blog, then word up, welcome to the end of the beginning of my blog.

Dear readers, no friends, no interweb BFFs, I hereby announce that this is the last Ticketstubbies’ blog post. Short story, I am now a full-time Creative Copywriter and time has become an elusive concept to me. If you miss me even a fraction of how much I am going to miss you, please connect with me on LinkedIn, follow my one-forty scribbles on Twitter or flip through my portfolio at MeWriteGood.

My blog is full of reviews, previews and interviews that can still help you decide on an awesome movie before you head off to the DVD or iTunes store, or which comedian you want to see live as Sydney loves her repeat offenders. Perhaps you’d like to re-read my interviews with some pretty special people like Jack Charles, Tom Gleeson and Kitty Flanagan? Just scroll down to the bottom for categories.

I came, I saw and I saved every ticket stubbie. They will remain safe in my cookie tin box of memories. Ok, so really they are in my OfficeWorks plastic folder, but they are there. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen and good night Sydney.

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I once experienced a physical reaction that felt like my stomach was scraped clean with a spoon. Much later did I admit to myself that what I felt was jealousy. It was such an acute pain that I couldn’t quite belittle it to just jealousy at that point but as the pain faded in time, I admitted defeat. Irish playwright Enda Walsh describes these feelings that we have conveniently given names like jealousy, despair, infatuation, fear in such incredible detail that you have no choice but to feel them with the actors on stage.

The story that he’s written is impeccably structured and immaculately told by sisters Breda, Clara and Ada and visitor Patsy. Breda and Clara (whose facial expressions of a whimpering teenager are absolutely exceptional) reenact one fateful night at the New Electric Ballroom when the music flowed just as generously as their feelings for a certain heartthrob. When their feelings get crushed by his ignorance of their adoration, they replay the tragedy of the night over and over again in garish make-up, poofy skirts and teenage emotions as a cautionary tale for younger sister Clara. As a challenge to the cautionary tale, Patsy, an unassuming local fishmonger tries to infiltrate the tight circle of the sisters, to be noticed, to be welcomed into their homes not just as a necessity but a visitor.

Justin Smith who plays Patsy nearly steals the show with his monologue and an unexpected solo performance, but it is the words of Enda Walsh that upstages any performance because “Staring back behind the blusher and the eye shadow is a girl who’s yet to be kissed. Properly kissed.” And it is that simple kiss that results in this exceptionally told story.

Until 31 March, Griffin Theatre, $15-$30.

Critics will tear this film apart. The plot is flimsy, many of the performances two dimensional and most of all it’s missing Sacha Baron Cohen’s famous real-life, candid-camera moments with unsuspecting everyday people as in Borat and Bruno… but this is still his best work yet. The Dictator holds a big, fat mirror to the ludicrous nature of dictatorships still present in the 21st century and multiplies it with a strong Cohen dose of parody. Admiral General Aladeen, beloved oppressor of Wadiya thinks it’s cute when women go to school and likens it to watching a monkey on roller skates. In another scene, he delivers a baby and says: “I have bad news, it’s a girl. Where’s the trash can?”. Things that are said and done in this film are shocking but they are based on true events and perceptions held by some even today. The speech he makes at a UN convention towards the end of the film pointing out the ironies of the American state of affairs and its show of democracy is brilliant and the SNL-like portrayal of newsreaders and their annoying habit of describing at length even the most mundane details during a live report is cringingly accurate. That’s where the good stuff ends.

You may have noticed that I haven’t actually told you what the film is about, bringing me back to my second sentence, the plot is flimsy. A dictator gets replaced by a double in a conspiracy by his advisor (Ben Kinsley) to turn Wadiya into a democracy so that the western world can exploit the oil-rich country. Cohen escapes to New York and without his beard he is unrecognisable. He must find a way to gain back his title. The Dictator is badly executed, no pun intended but I like this new turn of exaggerated Michael Moore-esque filmmaking pursuit Cohen has taken. (Released May 16)

We know Aaron Sorkin wrote The Social Network, The West Wing, A Few Good Men and The American President but Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is rarely mentioned. Think 30 Rock but with ping pong dialogue that will leave your head spinning and yearning for more. Unfortunately, the series (starring a much transformed Chandler – Mathew Perry) was cancelled after the first season. In The Farnsworth Invention, Sorkin takes his love for television and his fascination with invention on stage. The story revolves around a Philo Farnsworth, a self-taught electronics genius, and David Sarnoff, a broadcasting tycoon, who fight over the invention of television. Set in 1929 but framed within an acute awareness of today’s audience, this is a battle between the scientist and a dirty word called patent. TicketStubbies’ speaks to New Theatre’s Artistic Director and Director of The Farnsworth Invention, Louise Fischer for an insight into television on stage.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip also by Aaron Sorkin.

Sorkin’s one-liners are quick, witty and too good to be true. What was your experience directing his words? It has been a truly fun ride – lots of wonderful things to discover in this terrific script.  There are some hysterical scenes but there are also some “you could hear a pin drop” poignant moments.

Were there any challenges? Making sure the work is highly theatrical.  There was a danger that a play about television could look like a television play on stage.  A dramatic irony we wished to avoid.

With something being invented every other minute, do you think the idea of invention has lost its magic in today’s world? Sadly yes. Like exploration of the physical world, there seems to be very few frontiers that haven’t been discovered.

Do you feel this story is timeless? Firstly, great writing doesn’t date and the story itself is about human relationships and the struggle to realise a dream.

What three things/questions would you discuss with Aaron Sorkin if you were to meet him? What compelled him to bring Farnsworth’s story to light? He could have made Sarnoff more of a villain but he’s written a relatively sympathetic character. Does he relate to Sarnoff in some way? Will he introduce me to Martin Sheen?

Enough about Sorkin, tell us a little about yourself. How did you nab the title of Artistic Director of New Theatre? I had been doing a lot of stuff at the New Theatre – directing, acting and generally making a nuisance of myself.  They let me be AD to shut me up.

Do you watch much television? If so, what are the top three programs you are most ashamed of watching? I don’t get a lot of time to watch TV and often it’s the late night crap I watch after rehearsals but my guilty pleasures are The Amazing Race  (I so want to be a contestant), Angel/Buffy (beats the Twilight mob hands down) and Scrubs. (West Wing goes without saying)

Throw us a few titillating words on what the audience can expect at your production. I’m not sure about titillating but what they can expect a compelling night at the theatre with a kick arse script performed by an ensemble of amazing and versatile actors.

TRU THAT LOU!

The Farnsworth Invention (American production)

Until 13 Aug, New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown. $22-$28. 9519 5081, newtheatre.org.au

The details behind this animation are a little mysterious. Written by director, mime and actor Jacques Tati in 1956 but never produced is now on screen as an animation. Rumour has it that he wrote it as a love letter to his estranged eldest daughter. If you are unfamiliar with Tati, know that he is Rowan Atkinson’s inspiration for Mr Bean. In his famous films Mon Oncle and Play Time, Tati plays a character called Monsieur Hulot who is awkwardly tall and intentionally funny in his ill-fitting clothes. And in all his films, there is hardly any dialogue or his voice is muffled or inaudible. In The Illusionist, he plays a magician who moves to rural Scotland and meets a little girl who is convinced he is the real deal and a beautiful father-daughter relationship blooms. The film is beautifully animated and caricatures of the people that walk into their lives are just brilliant. However, I did feel like something was missing. And I’ve come to the conclusion that Tati’s brilliance is his alone and an animation mimicking him is just that – a copy.

The Illusionist Trailer

Play Time Trailer

 

In cinemas July 28.

Eh… what the deuce? Hanna is like Kick-Ass meets Jason Bourne plus a paper thin plot. Teenager Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones, Atonement) is brought up in the middle of nowhere (apparently the wilds of Finland) by her ex-CIA dad (Eric Bana) to like kill. She’s never been anywhere else and only knows stuff from the books Bana reads to her. When she feels she’s ready, her dad tells her she can press this red button which will send off an alarm to an evil intelligence officer (Cate Blanchett). I seriously don’t understand this plot. So everyone goes on this wild chase that looks like a series of music videos backed up by Chemical Brothers’ original score , which is pretty cool. The star of the film is a hilarious Jessica Barden who plays a spoilt teenager. She played a similar role in Tamara Drewe. I reckon, she’s someone to watch out for on the big screen. Ooh, did I just make another prediction… watch this space.

Jessica Barden in Tamara Drewe

Hanna Trailer

In cinemas July 28.

I’m going to miss Lisbeth Salander. Her black eyeliner, her multiple piercings, her cigarette smoking hunch, her barely-there breasts, her steely glances and her utter unpredictability. Amidst the Carrie Bradshaws, I will miss the coolest female character to grace the big screen in a long time. And in the third and final installment of the Millennium series, we have on board an array of tough-as-nails female characters minus the unrealistic, made-for-male-fantasy garb. There is a pregnant lawyer, a policewoman and a judge – all of whom play major roles in deciding the fate of a group of corrupt cronies. The film picks up from where The Girl Who Played With Fire ends. Lisbeth is brought to a hospital, after being shot by her father, where she recovers whilst waiting trial to be charged for murder and Mikael Blomkvist works to clear her name. It all sounds familiar yet like the page-turner books, the final chapter is a captivating watch.

Special mention goes to the “pig” Dr. Peter Teleborian (Anders Ahlbom) who reminded me of an evil James Lipton (Inside the Actors Studio). His squirm-in-the-seat scene towards the end of the film made me want to stand up and clap like the audiences allegedly did at screenings of The King’s Speech. I’m going to miss Lisbeth Salander. Her Mohawk, her chains, her computer hacking skills and her endearing inability to express herself. If not for anything, watch this movie to see Lisbeth attempt a full smile doused with insanity. Oh Lisbeth, you totally awesome freak.

This is what Borders looked like on its very last day, like a crime scene. Everything was on sale, from light fixtures to tables. It was really sad.

Quite aptly, I bought a CRIME sign that represented the crime books.

First off, congratulations to Lisa and Belinda for winning tickets to Chic Petite Presents. For more ticket offers, subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter. Email komi@mewritegood.com.au with the subject head “Tear my Ticketstubbie”.

Do stitching and bitching go hand in hand? Or is there an art to the madness of fashion? Ticketstubbies’ talks to Sharon Garrard, director of Chic Petite Presents… a festival of all things fashion and art. Move over Alex Perry and squinty eye, trout pout combo, here comes raw, underground fashion.

Who is Chic Petite Events? And how did the name come about? Chic Petite Events is a small event team that prides itself on being personable, approachable and unpretentious.  We have a passion for exposing new talent in the arts.  Petite is French for small.  We are a small company with big ideas and goals. Chic means style and elegance, which leads to what we stand for “Elegant events for real people”.  After organising a quarterly show called Launch My Label in 2010, we wanted to come with up with a new concept – one which allowed fashion designers, artists, photographers and other industry people to get their name out in this competitive industry. And Chic Petite Presents… was born.

Can you tell us a bit about this particular event? It is a four-day fashion and arts exhibition launched with a catwalk event showcasing five emerging designers.  People attending the launch will see the fashion and the art which will then exhibit for the following four days.  There will also be live sessions for two days such as hair and make-up demonstrations, live fashion photoshoot, live body art, modeling and styling advice with the Sydney Fashion Hour. These are free sessions and open to the public.

There seem to be an array of activities in the four-day event. What are you personally looking forward to? I am looking forward to the catwalk launch party due to the beautiful summer collections that will be presented in a new industrial space.  Also, the Sydney Fashion Hour with three stylists covering a range of topics will be fun. We are aiming for a friendly session with champagne and cupcakes.

What are some of the difficulties faced by up-and-coming artists and how do your events help? Artists and designers are very creative and talented but unfortunately some of them struggle with the business side – PR, funding and production. Not only do we help them with exposure, we also advise them on various other aspects of the business.

Would people not in the creative industry enjoy this festival? People tend to assume that the fashion and art industry is all glamour. We are trying to show people all the hard work that goes into it. This is also a great opportunity for people who want to see behind-the-scenes action of the fashion/art world.

What can the audience expect? New, exciting, raw talent from Australia and overseas.

Do you foresee this be an annual event? This will be a tri annual event. The next CPP is locked in starting Nov 1st 2011 for 5 days.

What else can we expect from Chic Petite Presents in the near future? We have just organised a launch for a company called Young Republic who have some very exciting collaborative ideas. And. we are on the search for new emerging talent for CPP 2012, watch this space…

Launch My Label catwalk show

26 – 29 July, Queen St Studio, 10-14 Kensington St, Chippendale. Launch party on 26 July, $25, Click here to buy tix

Some think about death when someone they know dies. Some think about it when they themselves face the unknown inevitability. Some refuse to think about it at all while others wake up in cold sweat in the middle of the night because it is all they can think about. Death is the one certain thing in our lives and relates intimately to each and everyone of us. So a film that promises to search the meaning of death and the possibility of an afterlife minus entertainment gimmickry à la an M. Night Shyamalan concoction, by a talented, octogenarian director is more than just appealing – it feels like compulsory viewing. Unfortunately, the great Clint Eastwood’s latest drama about three lives weaved into one script is lacking in ideas and audacity. Unlike Gran Torino, Hereafter skims rather than delves, leaving audiences unaffected by what should have been a hard-hitting philosophical film.

However, like holding a selective magnifying glass over life, Eastwood captures the little things with skillful precision. This is aptly amplified by the subtlety in his latest muse Matt Damon’s performance. Just watch the scene where he walks out from the cooking class after meeting a beautiful woman. Maybe death is on Eastwood’s mind but he seems to capture life a lot better than he does afterlife. Then, out of nowhere he’s added an extraordinary tsunami scene which has awarded him a Best Visual Effects Oscar nomination, a gong the vivid scene may just deserve but won’t win. I say “added” because in the end that’s what Hereafter feels like. An accumulation of various stories and scenes, ironically lacking soul.

Check your local DVD store.