Archive for April, 2019

Birds on double date

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

DUE to popular demand, Birds of Tokyo have announced an additional run of live shows for fans in November and December.

As they make their way around Australia performing shows with Muse in capital cities, the band will also return to regional cities, including Newcastle on Saturday, December 14.

The band received rave reviews for their March Fires album tour, which saw them play sell-out shows across the country.

The album, the band’s fourth, debuted at No.1 on the National ARIA Albums Chart and is scheduled for release in North America early in 2014.

The album’s second single Lanterns exceeded triple-platinum sales and was the most played Australian song on radio for the first six months of this year.

Tickets for the show at Newcastle Panthers go on presale today at 9am and on general sale tomorrow at 9am through moshtix苏州美甲美睫培训.au or by phoning 1300438849.

The band will be the headline act for the Homebake Festival, performing on the closing night, Sunday, December 8.

Stillsons to play Wickham Park Hotel

MELBOURNE alt-country band The Stillsons are celebrating the release of their third album Never Go Your Way with a regional tour.

They will play free shows at The Wickham Park Hotel on Saturday, October 5, and at The Junkyard, Maitland, on Sunday, October 6.

Whalley heads forum at conservatorium

FRENZAL Rhomb frontman Jason Whalley leads the Newcastle Music Industry Forum today.

A partnership between MusicNSW and the University of Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, the forum features a free question-and-answer panel and networking drinks, focusing on recording and how aspiring musicians and arts workers can get heard.

Whalley will be joined by Dave Ruby Howe from triple j Unearthed, Paula Jones from Jones PR, Mark Dodds from record label Inertia and producer Lachlan Mitchell.

The forum kicks off at 6.30pm, at Newcastle Conservatorium. RSVP [email protected] Recent workshops can be downloaded from musicnsw苏州美甲美睫培训/workshops.

Meanwhile, Whalley’s band has announced a show at the Cambridge on November 9.

Dragon in fine voice on acoustic tour

DRAGON will revisit their extensive back catalogue with their acoustic tour Sunshine to Rain Live, which will stop at Lizottes Newcastle tomorrow.

When Todd Hunter reformed 1970s rockers Dragon in 2006, the band was largely an acoustic proposition.

Dragon recorded Sunshine to Rain that same year, an acoustic album released through Liberation that dictated their touring for the next few years.

The line-up of bassist Todd Hunter, lead vocalist and guitarist Mark Williams, drummer Pete Drummond and electric guitarist Bruce Reid soon stepped into a full-band sound and performed more than 500 shows with their electric instruments.

Dragon are now ready to return to playing acoustically.

‘‘Playing our songs acoustically is an excuse to revisit these songs with a different musical mindset,’’ said Hunter.

‘‘It’s not about whipping up the crowd so much as it is about the interplay between instruments and giving the harmonies a chance to breathe. It means we can play songs like Show Danny Across the Water, Smoke and Same Old Blues – songs that there just isn’t room for in the rock set.

‘‘There will still be singing but I suspect it will be more choir-like than the rugby grand final vibe we normally go for.’’

Thundamentals hip-hop into town

BLUE Mountains via Newtown hip-hop trio Thundamentals – whose music video for their new single Smiles Don’t Lie was named Channel V’s Ripe Clip Of The Week – will perform in Newcastle next week.

The single is the first to be released from their upcoming, as-yet-untitled, third album.

Group member Jewson said the song was a way to express his respect, admiration and love for his partner.

‘‘I can imagine my partner driving to work and hearing this song come on the radio and seeing a big smile break out across her face, knowing that she is the inspiration behind my lyrics,’’ he said.

The band continues to redefine Australian hip-hop and recently won praise for their sophomore record Forevolution and their triple j Like A Version of Matt Corby’s Brother. Thundamentals will perform at the Small Ballroom, Islington, on Thursday, October 3.

McLeod joins Big Spring Jam line-up

LEAD singer of ARIA Award-winning band The Superjesus, Sarah McLeod, will perform at The Big Spring Jam at The Roundabout Inn, Gloucester.

McLeod has been performing with Rose Tattoo’s Angry Anderson and is about to release her new album. She will be joined at the festival by Central Coast songbird Sarah Humphreys, who recently released her album Hello through ABC Music.

Sydney-based Golden Guitar winner Karl Broadie rounds out the line-up.

Tickets are $30 and available from stickytickets苏州美甲美睫培训 or the venue.

The Big Spring Jam is on Saturday, October 19, from 3pm to 8pm.

Britt rolls out favourites at Cambridge

CATHERINE Britt will perform just one show in her home town as part of her tour The Hillbilly Pickin’ Ramblin’ Girl So Far…

Britt will perform a stripped-back, acoustic show based around the release of her new album package, a CD/DVD package of all singles and videos to be released before the end of the year.

Britt will perform at The Cambridge Hotel on November 8. Tickets from bigtix苏州美甲美睫培训.au.

Birds of Tokyo

Losing your illusion

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

GRAND illusionist Cosentino has built a reputation on his spectacular stage magic, death-defying escapes and dangerous stunts, but he doesn’t always emerge unscathed.

‘‘I’ve got seven stitches on my forehead from my first escape, 12 across my chin, two cracked ribs, broken fingers and I’ve had a broken left ankle from an upside-down straightjacket escape,’’ the Melburnian said.

‘‘The escapes are real – they’re real locks, real chains, real water, real knives – but of course it’s a calculated risk, I know my timing, I know my practice.

‘‘The danger is real and when things go wrong it is scary to get back on the horse and do it again but the good thing about the really big escapes or stunts is you only do them once – if you get injured, you’re done and then we move on.’’

It’s been a remarkable journey for Cosentino, whose first name is Paul, from reading a book of magic at primary school and mastering a coin trick, to becoming the first Australian to be awarded by the International Magicians Society the prestigious international Merlin Award for Most Original Magician. The Merlins are to magic what the Oscars are to movies.

‘‘I was very shy and introverted and the magic book was where I first saw all these vaudevillian posters of Harry Houdini and all these great magicians, I was fascinated with that,’’ he said.

‘‘In the back of the book they had these tricks so my mum [school principal Rosemary] started reading them to me and I started learning them, but no one knew what I did.

‘‘As my reading began to improve I gained a skill that was very unique – magic – and my confidence increased and I would use it as a tool to talk to people.’’

Cosentino performed magic regularly to pay his way through the first year of a business degree, but in 2002 was offered a six-month contract to perform on a cruise ship travelling around the US and Canada, and started making a living out of the art.

After returning to Australia, he honed his craft touring with theatre groups and in 2008 had the second-largest touring show in the country.

But it was his breathtaking escapes – interspersed with Michael Jackson-inspired dance moves across the stage – on Australia’s Got Talent that had the country collectively catching their breath.

‘‘Since the beginning of time mankind has wanted to fly, mankind has wanted to walk through walls, mankind has wanted to be invisible and I’m tapping into that,’’ he said about his popularity on the show.

‘‘Even as an adult all those elements touch you, even for a minute, in that small way and you say ‘I remember when I was a kid and I wanted to…’

‘‘So you’re tapping into this very raw nerve that goes back to your childhood.

‘‘You’re doing things that are absolutely amazing, you’re seeing me disappear and reappear in audiences, you’re seeing me levitate someone through the air, you’re doing things that defy the laws of nature.

‘‘If you’re a good illusionist you wrap it in story and mystery and you’re basically sending the message to the audience that we don’t know all the secrets and that’s a good thing because mystery is wonderful, it makes you wonder ‘What else? What about this, and that?’.’’

Cosentino addresses his loyal fans as believers, but is aware that some visitors to his shows are likely to be sceptics.

‘‘People who say ‘But it’s not real’, I’m so confused by that, my answer is always ‘Yeah, I don’t disagree with you’,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t even know how to answer that question.

‘‘When people say ‘It’s not real, it’s a trick’, well, I just told you it was a trick.

‘‘It is an illusion, it is smoke and mirrors, it is fantasy.

‘‘If you’re going to watch a movie like Avatar you know that those aliens don’t exist, you know those aliens aren’t real, but you suspend disbelief and you go with the story.’’

Cosentino is reluctant to go into too much detail about what Newcastle audiences can expect from his show, but said he will venture inside the belly of a scorpion closely followed by a 40-inch blade and, for the final act, will be shot at with arrows.

Cosentino will bring his The Magic, The Mystery, The Madness tour to Civic Theatre Newcastle on Wednesday, October 16. Tickets from livenation苏州美甲美睫培训.au.

Matthew Thompson runs with the Blood God:  Video, Readings

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Please enable Javascript to watch this video MATTHEW THOMPSON


Prologue reading

Kosovo reading

Epilogue reading

MATTHEW Thompson’s new book, Running With The Blood God, will not leave a footprint on your brain – it will leave a bootprint, indelibly inked in your subconscious.

Thompson, who holds a doctorate in creative arts, is a part-time firefighter in Dungog, where he lives with his wife Renae and daughter Avalon. He is also a guest lecturer at universities and writes freelance articles.

Five years ago he published his first book, My Colombian Death, an intense non-fiction account of his six-month journey to the exotic, drug-laden South American country full of characters and character.

Blood God, his second book, charts a course through even more dangerous territory.

He spends time in Iran, avoiding the ever-probing eyes of soldiers, police and shady operatives who are constantly arresting, harassing and torturing ordinary citizens who dare to disobey the strict Muslim covenants set by then leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He journeys to the Philippines, secretly visiting guerillas in the jungles north-west of Manila.

He takes a jolting road trip from Serbia to Kosovo with hard-core Serbian nationalists.

And finally, a stop in Portland, Oregon, to hang out with counterculturists and Native Americans in one of the most alternative major cities in America.

The book is subtitled ‘‘down and dirty with freedom fighters, rebels and misfits’’ and Thompson certainly gives his subjects, who come from all walks of life but have common ground in fighting against governments they consider unjust, a fair chance to explain themselves.

‘‘It’s more of a literary work,’’ Thompson says, comparing it to his first book. ‘‘It’s still adventure, gritty, real things. But I decided to leave a fair bit up to the reader. T

“Too much interpretation is taken from the reader these days, too many opinions are pushed on people.

‘‘My book has more respect for the reader. People all around the world, in dictatorships, cracked-up states, lost countries .. A huge variety of people, they all have the urge to live freer than their societies will allow. It’s up to the reader to decide how they fit into that .. what’s life add up to in the end.’’

In between philosophical discussions about the purpose of government, the value of civil disobedience, the role of religion and the like, Thompson indulges in opium (in Iran and the US), marijuana and cocaine, drinks everything from Portland’s boutique beers, to Serbia’s home-made plum brandy to contraband vodka and wine in Iran, all with the locals, of course.

‘‘When in Rome … do as the Romans do,’’ Thompson says.

‘‘I go for a month [to each location] and I see them and we get trust. I don’t agree, but I’m listening, so they open up. That’s what it takes. … It takes time with people. There is something to respect about drinking with sources. It’s a respectable occupation. It may not suit people prone to alcoholism, but you train, get into the field and go hard.’’

There is constant personal danger in Iran, the fear of being detained. In Kosovo one of his travelling partners is seriously stabbed in a confrontation and Thompson steps in, surrounded by Albanian thugs (saving himself by yelling ‘‘Leave him! Get off him! I’m Australian! I’m f–––king Australian!’’)

For Thompson, it’s all about living life to the fullest.

‘‘I don’t take stupid risks. I take them a calculated way,’’ he says. ‘‘I don’t want to shy away from the world and its wildness.’’

He thinks everybody should pause to consider that concept.

‘‘Adventure is healthy. Sure, it’s injurious at times, put things under strain. So does long-term decline. The people I’m meeting, the spirit of the book: wake up and become who you are!’’

Newcastle Council to cut six management roles

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

A FIFTH of Newcastle City Council’s senior management team will go under a new structure confidentially approved by councillors on Tuesday night.

The major changes, which have drawn fire from some councillors who argue they were unable to review the proposal before the vote, will cut one director and five unit managers from the council to save $1 million a year.

That money will join $6.5 million saved through measures introduced in July, stemming the bleeding from the council’s ongoing deficit.

Under the changes, the existing four council groups will be reduced to three.

Planning, Corporate and Infrastructure groups will replace the City Assets, Liveable City, Future City and City Engagement departments.

Each of those departments will include five groups, bringing the existing tally of 20 down to 15.

Newcastle City Council general manager Ken Gouldthorp said the new structure would make the council more intuitive for ratepayers, offering greater transparency and accountability than previous attempts to alter the council.

‘‘Basically the whole approach is to simplify the structure,’’ Mr Gouldthorp said.

‘‘It’s reducing the number of levels and the number of people that a customer might have to talk to to get their question answered.’’

Mr Gouldthorp said he was hopeful most of the changes could be made by mid-2014 while ‘‘about 30 per cent’’ could be in place before January.

The changes have drawn criticism from some councillors who argue they were made in a process that left them in the dark until Tuesday’s vote.

Cr Nuatali Nelmes said she believed councillors should have had more information in the lead-up to entering the chamber on Tuesday.

Cr Nelmes said she had contacted the Department of Local Government about the process of selecting a new structure, saying it was ‘‘mildly insulting’’ councillors were unable to weigh options until they entered the chamber to decide.

‘‘I’ve been through this process before and it was a much more open and collaborative approach,’’ Cr Nelmes said.

‘‘It’s a very big decision and I take it very seriously.’’

Mr Gouldthorp said the Department of Local Government was aware of the council’s process and was content with the procedure.

Greens councillor Therese Doyle said she believed the discussion should have stayed in open council rather than being held confidentially.

She said she believed that, and the inability to prepare questions about the new structure, indicated a lack of transparency at the council.

‘‘I’m very concerned about the creeping process of closing democracy,’’ she said.

‘‘I think we are looking at a much more corporate and presidential style of operation in council and the role of councillors appears to be downgraded.’’

The new structure was put forward as part of a required review of the organisation within 12 months of a local government election.

The new roles will be advertised and filled in phases to minimise turmoil within the organisation.

Willem Dafoe, Ellen Page star in interactive game

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Ellen Page in a scene from the computer game Beyond: Two Souls.David Cage doesn’t think he’s captured the future of storytelling, but he’s pretty confident he’s seen a glimpse of it. ”I’ve been interested in interactive storytelling for 16 years now and I really think this medium is just at the beginning,” the French writer-director of the acclaimed interactive game Heavy Rain (2010) says. ”We’ve only explored a tiny part of what interactivity can be.”Full movies coverageMore games coverage

With Beyond: Two Souls, the new game from his production company Quantic Dream, Cage is hoping to push the advance party a little further into uncharted territory (though he readily acknowledges his games are not alone in attempting to do so).

”I’m trying to explore different types of emotions, in continuing to explore this strange relationship that the game can establish with a player that is very different to the relationship between a film and an audience,” he says. ”When you watch a film you are passive, you cannot change what is going on, but when you play an interactive game you become an actor, you can actually change the story. This is really fascinating.”

Fascinating enough, certainly, to lure Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page to sign on for the project. Cage says he had Ellen Page – best known as the title character in Juno – in mind for the lead role from the moment he began writing it three years ago; the game follows her character over a period of 15 years, and he worked surrounded by images of her as a child actor, a teenager and a young woman.

His game is, he insists, primarily an emotional and spiritual journey, conceived after he lost someone close to him, and it needed real actors to carry it off. ”It’s the first time we’ve had talents of this calibre in a video game,” he says, with pride.

Page filmed for four weeks, Dafoe for a little more than one, and it was a demanding and sometimes gruelling experience, with 20 minutes of footage a day being logged (by comparison, a film shoot would usually aim to capture two to three minutes a day).

They shot on a sound stage with no props or costumes – ”they shoot in this silly motion-capture suit”, says Cage of the lycra onesie dotted with what look like tiny ping-pong balls – surrounded by 65 cameras, trained to capture their every movement in three dimensions.

”Sometimes actors think ‘I can do films, so I can do a game’. Actually, it’s a very challenging exercise,” says Cage. ”It’s all about imagination. The role of the director is more important in a way, because you have to explain what’s going on, what’s around them. It’s like shooting thousands of pieces of a puzzle, most of the time in disorder, and then much later you assemble all the pieces in a way that is hopefully consistent and satisfying for the player.”

A typical film script runs to about 100 pages or so; Cage says the script for Beyond: Two Souls, which took him a year to write, has about 2000.

The game play takes about 10 hours, ”but it’s non-linear and all those possible paths you have to write,” he says. ”In every scene there are choices and some have local consequences, some have long-term consequences that will effect the outcome of the story.”

All up, he says, there are 23 different endings.

It hurts the brain a little to even contemplate such a complex web of narrative, but Cage has had 16 years to get his head around the possibilities and challenges of interactive storytelling. He started gaming at 10, and working as a composer at 14, and eventually found a way to combine those passions by writing music for games. From there he created the game Omikron The Nomad Soul (released 1999), which had cameo appearances and 10 songs from David Bowie (some of the songs later appeared, in reworked form, on his album hours…).

How, I wonder, did a novice game developer go about luring such a legendary figure to such an unlikely project? Much the same way, he responds, as Dafoe and Page were enticed. He asked.

”Talented people can be very easy to convince when you come to them with something they find appealing, exciting and new,” he says. In scanning Bowie’s face and motion-capturing him, ”we made him probably the first virtual actor ever in the gaming industry”.

With Page and Dafoe in Beyond: Two Souls, Cage is quietly hoping he’s created another bit of history. Even if it is only the beginning.

Beyond: Two Souls will be released for PS3 on October 9.

twitter: @karlkwin

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