section: Arts And Culture

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sad story of a tragic opera wannabe

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 21 April 2016
    3 Comments

    Socialite and amateur operatic soprano Marguerite cuts an intriguing and tragic figure, devoted to her craft but oblivious to her lack of talent. Yet the joy she gains from believing she is a great singer doesn't depend on the reality or otherwise of that belief. Is it right or wrong for those who care for her to allow her to continue in her delusion? The question echoes the concept of a life-lie, invoked by Henrik Ibsen to argue that human beings are sometimes better off living in at least partial ignorance of reality.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Making a meal of the body politic

    • Barry Gittins
    • 20 April 2016
    1 Comment

    When you make a meal of body politic you've got to crack the whole thing open, season to taste with bestrewn flakes of policy offal and prejudged bakes ... serve offshore detention? Just add water, salt to taste and erase border. Grind those grubby unions, peel any sign of party donations and extractions from sorbeted cosseted carapaces. Stop the gloats, straighten up and get flyers Right ... Serve pre-heated post May's entree of budget salad.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Singing and subverting White American history

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 14 April 2016
    1 Comment

    The show's implicit subversiveness runs deep. It is embodied in the fact that its cast consists of mostly Black and Latino performers portraying White characters, using a vernacular and musical styles popularly associated with these cultural groups. It thus stands as a riposte to the history of black/brownface and whitewashing in popular entertainment. Crucially, in a show about 'founding fathers', it is the story's women who not only provide its emotional core but are also the most fundamentally heroic.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The tyranny of the clock

    • Darby Hudson
    • 13 April 2016
    3 Comments

    Thinking my jadedness of the nine-to-five was vindicated, I crossed the road at lunchtime where this tow-truck was waiting its turn at the lights. The trucker had 'Born on the Bayou' by Credence blasting through open windows. Thought he had an amazing sound system. Then realised he had a drum-kit set up on his dash and was going for it with his sticks in time to the tune. He made his day job look easy — and all of a sudden I felt like a small little angry man. He made my week.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Icelandic farmers like rams to the slaughter

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 07 April 2016

    When a remote valley in the north of Iceland is struck by an outbreak of scrapie - a fatal, degenerative disease that affects sheep - Gummi, Kiddi and their farmer neighbours must face the prospect of conducting a mass slaughter. This is very much a communal crisis, and a consideration of the socioeconomic hardships of traditional Icelandic sheep farmers in modern times. But it's also a teasing-out on the personal level of Gummi and Kiddi's emotional and practical responses to this turn of events.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Death and resurrection on Christmas Rock

    • Deanne Davies
    • 05 April 2016
    1 Comment

    The breeze spills, engulfing gorges, ruffling trees. The leaves whisper ancestral stories, signalling from hill to hill creation mysteries. The track wends past abandoned tennis courts, their turf is crushed, compacted anthills that salmon gums reclaim. The creek is waterless but when seeded with rain froglets bleat like lambs. Once trees flaming orange were common ... the granite, grey with age, once barren, yet when Earth trembled, it crevassed and soil collected, water funnelled, plants sowed.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Death and peach pies

    • Brian Doyle
    • 04 April 2016
    5 Comments

    His mum was the kind who baked more than one pie at a time and gave the extra pies away easily and casually. All I knew about her was the pies, because my friend brought in pies for birthdays and teachers' anniversaries and raffles and such at school. My friend said she was too cheerful, a remark I didn't understand. He said she was a different person after his dad died, but who wouldn't be after your spouse died at the kitchen table and got coffee all over the business section of the newspaper?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sherpa Spring challenges Western privilege on Everest

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 31 March 2016

    If Peedom was expecting to find signs of a growing sense of self-agency behind the docile facade of the legendary 'Smiling Sherpa', she couldn't have predicted a rawer or more tragic scenario against which it would play out. Predictably the turn of events does not sit will with the Western climbers and tour operators, who feel that the outlay of time and money, not to mention the 'bucket-list' imperative to conquer the peak, entitle them to proceed. Polite facades peel away to reveal ugly attitudes.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Eye on the messy ethics of drone warfare

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 24 March 2016
    5 Comments

    With more than 30 dead in Brussels just a few short months after the horrors in Paris, the Western world again confronts an assailant in ISIS who deals in fear and bloodshed. In contemplating our responses to such attacks we recognise the historical and current geopolitical realities that have bred the ideologies that fuel them. This messiness is the stuff of a new British film that arrives in Australia this week, which explores the plight of those who might be 'collateral damage' in the hyper-technological 'war on terror'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Lazarus at our gate (Easter poems)

    • Bill Rush, Marlene Marburg, Maureen O'Brien, John Cranmer
    • 22 March 2016
    3 Comments

    To be fair, he wasn't a leaner, he was one of the lifters. Helped to keep the country running, so to speak, and speak he did often, on many topics. He was a leader, and felt justified when others, in the region, followed his lead. It wasn't that he didn't see Lazarus, but more that he saw him differently. Break the rules, help one starving beggar and before you know it there will be a flood of them on your door step. That's how he argued and plenty agreed. Judgement day was a long way off.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The Tale of Meddling Mama Daniel

    • David Ishaya Osu
    • 21 March 2016
    3 Comments

    My elder sister was negotiating with a mobile seller of wears, and a neighbour, fondly called Mama Daniel, interfered, asking the seller not to sell to my sister, Elizabeth. And my sister pounced on the 40-something-year-old woman. They exchanged blows on their bodies. And my sister, who was more muscular and raging, grabbed the woman's wrapper and opened her secret. This is where everything ended and began, simple and complicated. Elizabeth has been a psychiatric patient since 2006.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The epic life of the real Iphigenia

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 16 March 2016
    9 Comments

    It was a bright winter's day when we visited Iphigenia. Long widowed, she was meticulously turned out in black traditional outfit. Iphigenia is not sure how old she is; she thinks she is 86. Anglophones regularly make a hash of this beautiful name, the correct pronunciation of which is Ifeeyainya. But the ones I know are intrigued by the mythological character, who was ill-fated, to say the least. I soon learned that there had also been ample sorrow and trauma in the life of the modern Iphigenia, too.

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