My Week in Pictures.

The writers festival.

The month of August is chock full of writers festivals (okay, two, but I’m going to a lot of sessions!), so much so that I’ve taken time off paid work to further my currently unpaid writing career.

Over the weekend I ventured to Bendigo for their writers festival, which boasted big names like Ita Buttrose. I decided to give her talk a miss as it coincided with another talk I wanted to go to about blogging and writing online which is more relevant to me, and frankly, some of the things Ita’s said recently have really rubbed me the wrong way. I think I like her better as portrayed by Asher Keddie than in real life!

While Megan Burke (my new idol) and ABC Open’s Jane Curtis were great speakers (and great bloggers), I felt the audience were all middle aged aspiring mummy bloggers and the content was relevant to them, who are interested in starting a blog, not me. Maybe three years ago, but not now.

The second talk I went to on Saturday was “Are We There Yet?”, featuring Indigenous writer Alexis Wright, astrophysicist turned lawyer turned writer Sulari Gentill, Muslim writer Hanifa Deen, and author Arnold Zable, and facilitated by Shannon Kerrigan, was promising in theory but failed to live up to the hype in practice. I thought all the writers were great and had valuable things to say about how writing contributes to social change but the format of the session was all wrong: I’m not a fan of each speaker telling a story about their take on the subject for a third or a quarter of the time and then it’s over. I much prefer pre-determined questions being posed to the panel and then opening them up for discussion. Suggestion for further panels: use social media to tally up the questions and thought threads attendees want to hear about and incorporate those into the talk, instead of stuffing them into a ten minute question and answer session at the end.

Speaking of, the last talk I went to on Sunday afternoon was about “His & Hers” writing, which had the potential to really delve into the notion that women write about shopping and sex and men write about serious things. When the facilitator, Sofia Ahlberg, asked if women can write a “great Australian novel” and insinuated that they can’t (not because that’s her personal view, I don’t think, but because our society just doesn’t allow for that with, perhaps, the exception of Kate Grenville), a man from the audience and his wife audibly retorted and rudely told Ahlberg to open the discussion up to questions from the audience.

What I got out of the session was an interest in 50 Shades of Grey that I didn’t have before, thanks to John Flaus’ comments that he didn’t think it was written by a woman due to its “clinical”, “outsider” perspective on sex. Either that, or an incredibly narcissistic woman. Interesting.

Also on Sunday was the “What Makes a Hero” session, with Janine Bourke, sports writer Gideon Haigh (sportspeople as heroes is one of my pet topics), Ned Kelly biographer Ian Jones and Hanifa Deen, who asked where minorities get their heroes from if they’re a primarily “conservative construct”, as Haigh asserted. Deen also talked about “cultural amnesia” which I found interesting as we so often put people on a pedestal after—and sometimes despite—committing indiscretions (Ned Kelly, Chopper Reid, and countless football players, to name some Australian “heroes”): “we remember and admire the things we want to”.

Finally, there was a horror panel featuring horror writers Brett McBean and Cameron Oliver, reviewer Lucy Sussex and president of the Australian Horror Writers Association, Geoff Brown. This was probably the best panel in terms of actually addressing the topic and opening the discussion up to questions and comments about “what scares us”. Interestingly, Bendigo is one of the most haunted cities in the world, with more ghosts per person than anywhere else! They talked about the canonical horror films of the late ’70s and ’80s like Carrie, The Shining and The Exorcist and how filmmakers are “scared to scare people” now and that the current zombie, vampire and werewolf trend reflects our xenophobia and fear of the “other”; more so, that they will “turn us into them”. If that doesn’t some up what we’re scared of, I don’t know what does.    

The stack.

I don’t support the Herald Sun, but a friend handed me a copy of Mia Freedman’s profile in Saturday’s issue, which was really good and revealed some aspects of her life that I didn’t know before. (Having read all of her books and being a religious follower of MamaMia, that’s no mean feat.)

Zoe Foster’s relationship column in this month’s Cosmo I found to be a little sexist, but I’m waiting to address it til I see (hear?) her speak at the Melbourne Writers Festival next week. Have you read it? What do you think?

Trivia.

On Tuesday night I had my annual work trivia tournament, in which my team—“Pretentious Latin Name”—came 11th out of 20. Hey, last year we came last, so we’re moving on up.

Special thanks to Sam who bought a giant-sized pizza from Costco for the festivities, and to myself, who made a bitchin’ batch of red velvet cupcakes, if I do say so myself.

New Secondhand Books.

I’ve been looking for Joyce Carol Oates’ Blonde for yonks, and I finally found it in Book Now in Bendigo over the weekend. I also got Timothy Conigraves’ Holding the Man after reading about it in a Benjamin Law article recently. Inspired by Stephen King’s acknowledgements in 11.22.63, I picked up Oswald’s Tale by Norman Mailer, a fictionalised account of Lee Harvey Oswald’s life, too.

Related: Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo Review.

In Defence of Mia Freedman.

The Ten Books I Wanted to Read This Year But Didn’t.

My Week in Pictures 18th August 2011.

My Week in Pictures 28th June 2012. 

Book Now, Bendigo.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Was “Girls on Show” Slut-Shaming?

[Benjamin Law] Holding the Man & AIDS in Australia.

My Week in Pictures.

Ma new hair.

This is when I’ve just styled it after washing, so it’s not sitting exactly how I want it, but this is my new hair, courtesy of Kerrie from Renik hair in Bendigo. Paging Dr. Lexie Grey.

 

Sunny days.

My sister came over and it was like we were kids again, playing at a playground near my place.

Movies.

This week was jammed packed with movies, including Magic Mike (review to come soon) and The Dark Knight Rises. While I loved the twist ending, I didn’t care for the rest of the movie and don’t think it warranted a review from an Early Bird perspective. I did think that the representation of ethnic minorities and women were dismal, and those that the movie did portray were token roles: the black football players and prisoners, a police officer’s wife and Catwoman’s sidekick, who had about three lines. My favourite part of the movie was Anne Hathaway’s inclusion, but even then, she reeked of the male gaze. For once can a female action hero do her thang in flat shoes? And what was with the horizontal straddling of the Batcycle? Megan Fox in Transformers 2, much?

The stack.

New books.

I was in Bendigo late last week and had a chance to stop off at my favourite book store, Bendigo Book Mark. I picked up Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which I’ve been eyeing off for over a year, Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo and Truman Capote’s Music for Chameleons, for the fact that it includes a short story about Marilyn Monroe!

Related: “With a Gun Between Her Legs”: Why “Strong” (AKA “Sexy” Whilst Being “Strong”) Female Characters Are Bad for Women.

Was Kristen Stewart’s Public Apology Really Necessary?

My Week in Pictures April 5th, 2012.

My Week in Pictures.

La Triviata not as Big of a Deal as last week’s festivities.

Last week at Hardiman’s trivia, we came in first place using the name “Kind of a Big Deal” and a few different people. This week was more of a couples outing, with Heidi and Nick and Zoe and Matt joining singletons April, Ken and myself from last week in “La Triviata”. While we drew for first place but lost the tie breaker, it wasn’t a shabby effort: we won another bottle of wine to add to the two from last week and a six pack. I won’t be making use of the libations, but we’ll be sharing them out at a work trivia night in a few weeks, for which our recent outings have been in preparation for.

Hysteria.

I loved the Hugh Dancy-Maggie Gyllanhaal period (pardon the pun) flick about the maker of the first vibrator. Funny, feministy and short and sweet. Wholeheartedly recommended.

In a gothic State of Mind.

I’ve been salivating over YouTH’s rose quartz State of Mind skull ring for months and, when it went on sale a couple of weeks ago, I had to pick one up. It arrived in the mail over the weekend and I’ve been planning outfits around it ever since.

The stack.

My friend Michelle bought a copy of Drowned by Therese Bowman at my urging in Perth after I’d read a superb review of the English translation. Reading it myself now, it’s a bit more 50 Shades of Grey than I expected…

Related: My Week in Pictures 19th July 2012.

My Week in Pictures 28th June 2012.

Elsewhere: [YouTHjewellery] State of Mind Skull Ring.

My Week in Pictures.

 

 

 

 

Birthday girl Zoe singing “As Long as You Love Me”.

 

More Backstreet Boys.

 

The party don’t start til I walk in!

 

Zinm creator Marc Bonnici getting his Amy Winehouse on.

Hey, big spender!

Birthday karaoke.

Zoe (she of the awesome blog redesign. More to come soon.) had her birthday at Jankara Karaoke Bar on Russell Street in the city and it was awesome! Some of the songs on show were “Call Me” by Blondie, “Footloose” and, my favourite of the night, “Candy” by Mandy Moore! I ended up singing “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha, “Barbie Girl” with a friend of Zoe’s friend, and “Backstreets Back”, which was a group effort. Fun!

When it comes to trivia, we’re Kind of a Big Deal.

A few friends (one of whom I met at karaoke!) went to trivia at my local pub, Hardiman’s in Kensington, and we blitzed it, despite the gamekeepers stuffing up our score on several occasions. A couple of bottles of wine, some food vouchers and the chance to win again next week, here we come!

 

Macaroons, Mexican and masculinity.

My new favourite takeaway place in Melbourne Central is Mad Mex: so good! We followed this up with some exorbitantly overpriced macaroons and a talk about masculinity at the Wheeler Centre. Some notes from the event:

The speakers were director and comedian Glynn Nicholas, therapist Jared Osborne, and former football player Joel Bowden, with facilitator Kim Farrant, and spoke about becoming a “man” and their respective journeys to get there.

I was particularly impressed with Bowden, maybe because, as a football player, I had pretty low expectations of him to begin with, but he spoke about the “raw, barbaric, alpha male” culture of the AFL and sport in general, and how he almost got sucked into that.

He said that being a “good man” means being a good father.

Bowden also said that he thinks the next frontier in masculinity is being able to cry, which I think is interesting. How many men do you know who think crying shows weakness?

Farrant mentioned that she thinks masculinity means a certain confidence that can be found in anyone, not just traditionally alpha males. Osborne elaborated on this, saying that masculinity is the difference between maturity and insecurity.

Osbourne also said that he struggled with his own idea of what a good man is and the ideas of the women around him, stemming from the Freudian concept of his mother always telling him he was “such a good boy”.

All in all, much better than the last installment in the What Men Really Think About… series.

The stack.

Related: My Week in Pictures Catch-Up Edition.

My Week in Pictures.

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball from the Monster’s Pit.

Gaga reppin’ it for her Aussie Little Monsters.

The meat dress makes a comeback.

The lucky fans who threw blow-up dolls onstage at Gaga and the thirteen-year-old girl who made her a book of illustrations and musings about why Gaga is an inspiration to her got to go backstage! Next time, I’m taking stuff to throw at her!

All Lady Gaga concert photos by April Bonnick.

I’m on the right track, baby, I went to the Born This Way Ball.

Definitely one of the highlights of my year/life, I finally saw Lady Gaga live in concert on Sunday night. It was terrible weather for it, and we stood out in the rain in skimpy outfits for about 45 minutes, which caused a cold I kicked last week to come back :(. But for Gaga: it was worth it. We bought tickets for the Monster’s Pit, which is the standing room area in front of the stage, and we were at a perfect vantage point to get some Gaga eye candy, as the above photos, taken by my friend April, will attest.

Last week, Mia Freedman wrote of her Sydney Gaga concert experience, saying she walked out mid-concert because she wasn’t impressed that Gaga hid behind her costumes and the set. I will agree with her on this count, but if Mia had’ve stayed, she would’ve enjoyed the majority of it; mid-way through, the concert became very interactive, and Gaga spoke to the fans, had “story time” (see above), and invited some fans backstage! Jealous!

Rock of Ages & Snow White & the Huntsman.

I managed to catch Rock of Ages before it descends into the failed movie-musical abyss, and I liked it. It had nothing on the stage show, which had nothing on stage shows with actual storylines, but it wasn’t wholly unenjoyable.

I also saw Snow White & the Huntsman, which I also liked, but both were nothing to write home about, really. You may see a comparison of the two Snow White efforts that came out this year, Mirror Mirror and the Kristen Stewart version, here, but I haven’t decided whether they’re both worth writing about yet.

The stack.

A special Tom-&-Katie-divorce issue of Who came out two days early yesterday. It’s a nice surprise to get my Who fix before Friday. I also picked up a bi-anual copy of Marc Bonnici’s zine, ZINm, which I and a few of my friends contributed to. While the print run is strictly limited, you can head here for some more ZINm goodness.  

Related: Mirror Mirror Review.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Lady Gaga & Why I Walked Out of Her Concert.

[ZINm Backstage] Homepage.

My Week in Pictures.

Ken & Laura on the ferry to the zoo.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle…

Somehow I think this ride is not meant for people our size…

Just chillin’.

Rockin’ the helmets for our ride ’round Rottnest.

We climbed down an embankment to come across this serene stretch of beach. Despite the freezing temperatures on the island, the water was so warm. That’s WA for ya. Or maybe it just seemed warm because we were so cold…

Quokkas are everywhere on Rottnest. One even climbed into my bag in an attempt to get to the fruit in there!

This shot pretty much sums up mine and Clare’s feelings towards the Rottnest ferry!

This week has been spent mostly galavanting across the country to Perth, to visit my friend Laura, who moved back there earlier this year. While I can’t say I liked the city, it was interesting to see that a major Australian city operates like a country town in the ’90s: shops closed on weekends, food ridiculously overpriced and all the buildings are brand new. It was fun to check out the zoo, ride 8kms around Rottnest Island in the blistering cold and catch up with fellow blogger Camilla Peffer, of Girls Are Made From Pepsi, and Laura, of course!

For the rest of my time off, my housemate and I are embarking on a two-day, eight-movie marathon of the Batman chronicles, in preparation of the final instalment of The Dark Knight.

I got through a significant portion of Stephen King’s 22.11.63 on the plane trips, but could not find a copy of the latest issue of Famous anywhere in Perth, and I left two days after it was supposed to come out! Ended up picking up a copy at the supermarket this morning; see what I mean?

My Week in Pictures.

It’s been wet, cold and increasingly dark lately, so I’ve been trying to spend as much time at home with the puppy on my lap acting as a hot water bottle, catching up on my reading, writing and just plain relaxing. What have you been up to?

The second installment of Fables, courtesy of the housemate.

I’d mentioned that, after finally reading the first edition of Fables and being unimpressed with Once Upon a Time, I’d like to see what happens next. My housemate, Eddie, apparently had the chance to get it on the cheap and surprised me with it over the weekend.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

The one outing I did make this week was to see the latest ensemble effort What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Not the greatest movie ever made, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The stack.

Last time, I was close to finishing Bret Hart’s memoir, and now I’m embroiled in Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures, about amateur paleontologists and fossil collectors in the early 18th century, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot. While Chevalier isn’t exactly literary royalty, I do love her historical recreations. This fortnight’s Big Issue is well worth a read, too.

Related: What to Expect When You’re Expecting—Adoption, Choice & Bacne.

My Week in Pictures—31st May, 2012.

My Week in Pictures—17th May, 2012.

My Week in Pictures.

Saying “Goodbye, CSIRAC”.

My friend, Zoe (who kindly and awesomely did the artwork for this here blog), saw months of hard work culminate in her Next Wave Festival show, Goodbye, CSIRAC, about women, technology and Australia’s first computer. Congrats, Zoe!

Senior’s cinema.

I was supposed to go and see Midnight in Paris with a friend who loves the movie, but she bailed to go away for the weekend. Seeing as I have no life, I got my senior’s cinema on on Sunday morning and went to see it solo. I make it a rule not to see Woody Allen productions (what with that whole marrying-his-stepdaughter thing), but I actually enjoyed this one.

Dark Shadows.

I was really looking forward to Dark Shadows, which is unusual for a Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaborative effort, but it let me down. I enjoyed the imagery and Eva Green’s character Angelique, but the story had massive holes in it. The resurrection of Helena Bonham Carter’s character, Dr. Hoffman, at the end means a sequel will (hopefully) attempt to fill these holes.

The stack.

I’m finally plowing through Bret Hart’s autobiography, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling, after having it on rotation for a couple of months now. It’s getting to the good, but tragic, parts now, with the Montreal Screwjob and his brother Owen’s death. Hart actually lived a sad life, despite all his accomplishments in the professional wrestling world.

Elsewhere: [Wikipedia] Montreal Screwjob.

My Week in Pictures.

My Name is Prince & I’m a Sexy Mother Fucker.

Yes. You. Are.

On Tuesday night I went to see Prince in his second Melbourne concert and it was phenomenal. While I think I preferred Elton John just a tad more, I was completely overwhelmed by the awesomeness that is Prince. I was a bit disappointed he didn’t perform two of my favourite songs—“Black Sweat” and “Most Beautiful Girl in the World”—in favour of a few covers, but he is brilliant on stage and even sexier in person than in his film clips.

Mother’s Day.

My mum lives two hours away and I had to work, so I didn’t see her on the weekend but that didn’t stop my housemate—sorry, I mean my puppy—from spoiling me for my first year as a mum! Surprised!

The obligatory getting-to-know-you sniff.

Deb with Minnie.

Doggy date.

I caught up with a friend for a dog park and coffee date, and our two canine friends got on like a house on fire. Just like their mummies.

The stack.

Ordinarily I find comics to be too busy with a disjoint between text and image: give me a traditional prose book any day. However, I was inspired by my Clunes gift for my housemate, Spiderman/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do, and the small screen “adaptation” of the Fables series, Once Upon a Time. (The show is inspired by Fables, but not officially based on the books.) All I have to say, I’m enjoying the comic version much more than the TV series thus far.

Related: My Week in Pictures 8th December, 2011.

My Week in Pictures 10th May, 2012.

My Week in Pictures.

The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia.

The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia opened at the Melbourne Museum last Friday, and I found it much more impressive than their past exhibitions, Titanic and Tutankhamun. Very spacious and a lot more intimate than previous years, and the lighting on some of the carved stone reliefs was magnificent, harkening back to the time of A Day in Pompeii, which I felt was much more content-focussed than some of the Museum’s other exhibitions.

For old time’s never was’ sake?

Normally whenever I see so called “women’s literature” or “chick lit”, I run a mile. In this case, I stayed long enough to take a pink and stereotypical portrait.

Back to Booktown.

Last weekend, it was that time again: Clunes Booktown time. I travelled cross-country (train from Melbourne to Bendigo, car from Bendigo to Clunes, shuttle bus from Clunes to Ballarat and another train from Ballarat to Melbourne. Phew!) to spend the day in Clunes’ freezing weather for an abundance of books. I picked up most of my haul within the first hour, and had to cart it around for the rest of the day. One of the garage/book sales out of someone’s front yard had a “book trolley” for hire; I think I’ll take them up on their offer for next year! My companion, Hannah, walked around empty handed for most of the day, until she picked up four great books on our trek back to the car.

For myself I got a book of essays by Gloria Steinem (including her famous Playboy club exposé. Eep!) and the incredibly rare first edition of Bret Easton Ellis’ The Informers and the Harvard Lampoon’s Twilight spoof, Nightlight. As gifts, I got my housemate a much-coveted (though unbeknownst to me til after the fact; I just thought the cover looked cool!) Kevin Smith-penned edition of Spider Man and Black Cat (with feminist themes: bonus!) and The Hours for my mum.

Break time.

Mia shares some water with her new friend. What a nifty little invention!

The dog park.

Mia’s fully vaccinated now, so that means I can start taking her to grassy areas.

At her post-adoption training session, I expressed concern at her aggression on the lead and interacting with other dogs. The trainer suggested taking her to a dog park during a quiet time (Tuesday before lunch, in this case) to get her used to socialising with other dogs. While her playtime was a bit more aggressive than I would have liked, Mia ended up making friends with a little poodle-shih tzu cross named Ovi. Ovi’s owner, Misty, is new to Australia from the U.S., so we’ve made plans for the dogs to catch up for a play date. I secretly think Misty was in search of some human playmates, too.

The stack.

Some quality articles in The Age on Saturday: a testimonial on why Prince still matters (he’d better, ’cause I just forked out a pretty penny for tickets to his concert next week), and an investigation into Nick D’Arcy and that assault incident. I liked this quote from the piece: “I think that as role models, we should be held to a higher standard than the average person,” spoken by Kieren Perkins. Here here.

The senior’s movie.

Rita Hayworth’s Gilda is supposed to be the embodiment of the femme fatale, so when the movie was screening (and still is, this Saturday and Sunday at 11am, and Monday at 1:30pm) at ACMI for $11 (cheaper for seniors!), I had to get on it. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, and found it sexist as all hell, Hayworth is a dream to look at!

Related: Tutankhamun & the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at Melbourne Museum.

Clunes Back to Booktown.

My Week in Pictures 26th April 2012.

Cherchez la Femme Fatale, Take 2.

Mesopotamia image via Museum Victoria.