Monday, 10 March 2014

Cultural intake - what I've been seeing and hearing lately

I've had a cultural kind of weekend.

Friday night, I went to the Melbourne Recital Centre to hear the Balanescu Quartet play. Well, it was quartet plus occasional drum kit and looped recorded sound. Visual interest was added with film, including projections on the back of the music stands. Perfect! This was always redundant space and it's great to see it used for something other than advertising!

Anytime I hear music played in Elisabeth Murdoch Hall it is magical. The sound is incredible, no matter what is being played.

On my daily walk past the Malthouse Theatre, and on my way to the Balanescu Quartet, I stopped in at the box office and bought a ticket to see Simon Stone's production, "The Government Inpsector".  It was to be a production of "The Philadelphia Story", but rights were refused and this production cleverly turns this rejection into an opportunity. I needed to see it out of curiosity, if nothing else.

I had the best seat in the house (centre front) and laughed myself sick for the duration. It was a matinee though and I wondered how the "language" would go down with the audience. I walked out still laughing, but noticed the rest of the audience seemed quiet, reserved and then I overhead one woman say to another, "Well, it takes all types of people doesn't it?" The I noticed she had been sitting beside me. Was she talking about me or the play?

It's delightfully creative and refreshing. Who needs to see another production of "The Philadelphia Story" anyway? The Age has a review here.

Yesterday, it was off to the movies to see "Her", the film that won the Oscar for best original screenplay and has one of my favourite actors, Joaquin Phoenix. It's an interesting premise and I would suggest, is actually a science fiction film. It's set sometime in the not too distant future where technology is familiar but can do just a little more than what mine does for me right now. Phoenix plays Theodore, a man separated from his wife and living alone with only virtual reality "people", the receptionist at work and a woman who lives in the same building for company. He purchases the new OS1, a "smart" virtual assistant, customised with a female voice (played by Scarlett Johannson) and falls in love with her. There's a suggestion that she also falls for him.

Cut 30 minutes out and it would have been fantastic.

Oh, and get the two women sitting next me, chatting away as thought they were alone in their loungeroom, to SHUT UP!

Tomorrow night I'm off to see Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca at the Melbourne Recital Centre. I'll be selling CDs too, so if you're there, come and say hello.

What have been doing lately?

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