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Mama Alto performs the songs of Sarah Vaughan at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Lauren Connely/Flickr

Mama Alto pays homage to Sarah Vaughan at the Melbourne Fringe

In their 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival performance Mama Alto and her musical director Tiffani Walton pay tribute to Sarah Vaughan, one of the great ladies of American song. Mama Alto charmed her audience…
Juana Molina, who played at the Brisbane Festival last night, is a true original. Photo: Marcelo Setton

Juana Molina: left-field folktronica at the Brisbane Festival

Argentine singer-songwriter Juana Molina is one of those fearless artists. The kind of fearless artist who abandons a successful TV show at the height of its popularity to pursue a solo career in making…
Minouk Lim’s Navigation ID is an extraordinary example of community engaged public art. Gwangju Biennale/ Stefan Altenburger

Art and politics at the Gwangju Biennale: Burning Down the House

Burning Down the House, curated by Brit Jessica Morgan, marks the 20th anniversary of the Gwangju Biennale, currently showing in Gwangju, a city in the south-west of South Korea. Despite being one of the…
George Rose’s light is one of the products on display at this year’s Fringe Furniture exhibition. Anna Lorenzetto

Fringe Furniture: the products that help us understand who we are

Every product is a blabbermouth; it has a tendency to answer every question – and then some - Del Coates. Coates, an American industrial designer and design academic, is right. The processes and outputs…
Jasmine Togo Brisby’s work is on display at Deadly Nui Art at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Kimba Thomson/Blak Dot Gallery

Melbourne Fringe review: DNA (Deadly Nui Art) at Blak Dot Gallery

On the wall hang three portraits of contemporary South Pacific Islanders, some with ships and all with duty stamps in the foreground. Skulls of sealed raw sugar glisten on a table. Bitter Sweet is the…
Local hero Danny Harley aka The Kite String Tangle played to a home crowd at the Brisbane Festival. Brisbane Festival

The Kite String Tangle: blissed-out beats at the Brisbane Festival

Danny Harley has had a pretty big year with his one-man band project The Kite String Tangle. There have been festival appearances, both at home and abroad, a song in the top 20 of Triple J’s iconic Hottest…
Philip Glass’s reimagination of the Disney myth is a timely consideration of cultural labour. Brisbane Festival

Capital-C culture: The Perfect American at the Brisbane Festival

The Brisbane Festival’s production of Philip Glass’s opera The Perfect American is only the third production of the 2012 work ever to be staged. That’s quite a coup for the Brisbane Festival and Opera…
Maxime Pascal conducts the Argonaut Ensemble at BIFEM. Jason Tavener

Why Bendigo’s exploratory music festival is worth trumpeting

What, one might wonder, is the value of an international festival of exploratory music? And why is it in Bendigo, in north-west Victoria? In Australia, we have so many festivals featuring music, film…
Brooke Hemphill’s book Lesbian for a Year has stirred new conversations about what it means to be a lesbian today. Purple Sherbet/Flickr

Be a lesbian for a year if you must – but what about lesbians for life?

I recently found myself at a bookshop at Sydney’s domestic airport with less than ten minutes until my plane boarded. Scanning around frantically for something to read, my eyes were immediately drawn to…
Lally Katz’s adaptation of Ibsen’s classic play A Doll’s House is playing at the Brisbane Festival. Dylan Evans/Brisbane Festival

Grand slam: Lally Katz’s Doll’s House at the Brisbane Festival

When Jane Caro compared traditional marriage to prostitution on a recent episode of Q&A, she did not mean to conflate today’s stay-at-home mothers with sex workers. But that didn’t stop the loud handful…
Jeff Wall, Untangling (1994, printed 2006), transparency in light box, AP 189.0 x 223.5 cm. National Gallery of Victoria

Art as Therapy? Art as Patriarchy!

Art as Therapy at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) promises to “challenge visitors to examine assumptions about themselves, society, and how art is viewed in galleries”. And it would be right…
Performers cavort around five onstage bathtubs in Soap, currently playing at the Brisbane Festival. Andy Phillipson/Brisbane Festival

Soap: a sexy night on the tiles at the Brisbane Festival

Traditionally soap is made by rendering down lard. But in this tight show, Soap, playing at the Brisbane Festival, there isn’t an ounce of fat to be seen. The pace is fast and the bodies are lean. It’s…
Cullen possessed a natural likeability, even an awkward politeness. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Review: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen by Erik Jensen

Adam Cullen, Australian artist and winner of the 2000 Archibald Prize, died just over two years ago at the age of 46. He spent the last three years of his life working with a young writer, Erik Jensen…
Brendan Cowell’s new play The Sublime threatens to purge the word rape of its power – and that’s a dangerous move. Jeff Busby/MTC

We need language to shock: why The Sublime gets rape wrong

Here are two opposing definitions of rape. Rape: a violent, criminal act almost exclusively inflicted on women and girls by men. An ordeal of which the outcome is devastating, shaming, psychologically…
Why do dictatorships make such a compelling backdrop for crime fiction? Dean Ayres/Flickr

Why dictators and detectives are a good match in crime fiction

Dictators dislike detective novels. Both fascist Italy and Nazi Germany outlawed crime fiction in 1941. The crime novel, according to the Italian Ministry of Popular Culture, weakened the health of the…
The vampire stars of What We Do In The Shadows, a new New Zealand film released today. Kane Skellar/Madmen Films

What We Do in the Shadows – the NZ gothic with sharp comic chops

Yes, some vampires like to live in looming, crumbling, cobwebby castles. But some, the vampires of What We Do in the Shadows, a New Zealand film released today, like to live in flats in Wellington. This…
The Dreamhouse launches tonight on ABC1. Artemis Films

Living with intellectual disability in The Dreamhouse

“I’m not a mummy’s boy any more!” proclaims Justin. “You never were!”, counters his mother Margaret. Justin, aged 32, is leaving home for the first time. He has Down syndrome and he and two others who…
Sydney Chamber Opera’s Mayakovksy critically engages with neglected aspects of the great Russian poet’s biography. Photo: Zan Wimberley

Mayakovsky at Carriageworks: a telegram from an alien future

“I’m a poet. That’s what makes me interesting.” So begins the autobiography of Vladimir Mayakovsky, whose futuristic militarisation of poetic verse proved even more revolutionary than the Bolsheviks’ seizure…
Hugo Weaving’s Macbeth dwells on the isolation and introspection of one of Shakespeare’s great tragic leads. Photo: Brett Boardman. Sydney Theatre Company

Hugo Weaving reveals Macbeth’s weakness – and his unhappiness

Sydney Theatre Company’s new production of Macbeth may draw attention for its star, Hugo Weaving, but the most powerful agent of this production is the theatrical space. Director Kip Williams has inverted…

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