Protest for Palestine

People gather in Sydney to protest Israel’s attacks on Palestine. Photo: Jay Liu

 

BY JAY LIU and PAUL STRADBROOK

A large crowd of more than 500 protesters gathered at Sydney’s Town Hall on Sunday to call for an end to the ongoing bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas which has claimed more than 1000 Palestinian lives, mostly civilians. The objective of this peaceful protest run by the Palestinian Action Group Sydney was for passionate Palestinian protesters to vent their frustration over relentless rocket attacks from Israel against Palestine.

The speaker led the crowd in chants such as “One, two, three, four, we don’t want your bloody war! Five, six, seven, eight, Israel is a terror state!” Their mantras rang out loud and clear for the leaders of the warring nations to hear: “Free, free Palestine!”, “Shame, shame Israel!” and “Shame, shame USA!”

Approximately 50 police officers, some dressed in riot uniform, including five mounted units performed crowd control and cordoned off vehicle access to main streets along the protest route during the march. These included George Street, Pitt Street, Castlereagh Street, Elizabeth Street and all the way to College Street.

Antony Loewenstein, a journalist and prominent speaker from the Jewish community, made a speech emphasising a growing international voice asking for Israel to cease its hostility and conclude aerial assaults on the Gaza Strip. “You see on a daily basis what Israel is doing in our name. When I say our name, I mean Australia’s name, the West’s name. And we can stand here today and say not in our name.”

The collective hopes from all who attended yesterday’s protest and people across the globe is that we will soon see a conclusion to the bombardment of Palestine by Israel and an end to retaliatory rocket fire. Negotiations are ongoing.

If you want to be involved in the next protest, you can stay informed by liking the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/syd.bmbc
 


VIDEO: SBS reported on Sunday that there were 500 people marching in protest against Israel today in the Sydney CBD. JAY LIU challenges their count.

 

Breaking news | July 28

Photo: Highway Patrol Images/flickr

BY JASON BELL

Stabbing in Blacktown

Police were called to a Collins Street home in Seven Hills on Saturday night after reports two men were assaulted.

At about 6:40pm two men were taken to Westmead Hospital with stab wounds. One of the victims has been reported by police to be in a critical condition.

Two men aged 21 and 24 were arrested by Blacktown Police a short time later. The two men were charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and are due to appear at Parramatta local court on Thursday.

The 21 year old man has been refused bail, and conditional bail was granted to the 24 year old man.
 
Warner Bros kills Batman vs Superman

Warner Bros have filed a copyright claim for footage leaked onto You Tube of the in-production DC comics film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The footage was shown by Warner Bros on Saturday at their Batman V Superman panel at this weekends San Diego Comic Con to the riotous reception of fans.

Batman, portrayed by Ben Affleck, is seen in the footage wearing armour reminiscent of the armour worn by Batman in his fight with Superman in Frank Miller’s seminal 1986 comic book The Dark Knight Returns. The one minute clip shows Batman in armour standing in the rain on a rooftop next to the Bat Signal. He then uncovers the Bat Signal and turns it on. We then pan to see that the signal is illuminating Superman looking angrily at Batman. Superman’s eyes start to glow red.

Superman V Batman Dawn of Justice opens on the May 6, 2016.

 

Theatre’s night of nights

Up for 10 Helpmann Awards: Opera Australia’s The King and I. Photo: The King and I/Facebook

 

BY EDOARDO MESITI

The 14th Annual Helpmann Awards, Australia’s live entertainment industry’s night of nights, is upon us once again. This year’s nominations were announced simultaneously across six major Australian cities, and Opera Australia’s The King and I and The Melbourne Ring Cycle have topped the nominations list with ten nods each. The cream of the Aussie theatre crop were on hand at the nomination events with Lisa McCune, Todd Mckenny, John Wood, Nancye Hayes, Simon Gleeson, Li Cunixn, Greta Scacchi and Jonathan Biggins making the announcements.

Celebrating the best in theatre, concerts and festivals, the Helpmanns are Australia’s equivalent of the Tony Awards for Broadway in New York, and the Olivier’s in London’s West End. The accolade is handed out by Live Performance Australia, the live entertainment industry workplace relations body. CEO Evelyn Richardson said, live productions in Australia attract 16 million people annually, with revenues up to $1.2 billion.

The King and I, which is currently running in Melbourne’s Princess Theatre, stars real life couple Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes (who will star in the Sydney production) as Anna and the King, respectively. The show has been nominated for Best Musical, Best choreography, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Lead Actress in a Musical (for McCune), amongst others. Ring Cycle is currently showing at Art Centre Melbourne, and comprises four operas. Directed by acclaimed theatre director (and 9 time Helpmann Award winner) Neil Armfield, the production has received nominations for Best Opera, Best Direction of an Opera for Armfield, Best Lead Actor, and Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress.

Australian production Strictly Ballroom, based on the original film directed by Baz Luhrmann, has gained seven nominations. Luhrmann has gained a nod for Best Direction of a Musical, and his wife Catherine Martin, who won two Academy Awards this year for her work on The Great Gatsby (also directed by her husband), earning a nomination for Best Costume Design. Surprisingly, Ballroom was outdone by independent production Sweet Charity. The show had its run earlier this year at the 110-seat Hayes Theatre in Potts Point, and has garnered eight nominations. It’s also interesting to note that being a critically acclaimed show doesn’t guarantee multiple nominations, with Sydney’s The Lion King gaining two and Melbourne’s Wicked only getting one.
 

Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom, The Musical. Photo: Strictly Ballroom the Musical/Facebook

 
Sydney productions have dominated the “plays” field of the awards, with The Shadow King and Waiting for Godot earning four nominations each, both being nominated for Best Play and Best Direction of a Play. Angels in America and Maids, also Sydney based, have gained two. Cate Blanchett, who stars in the latter production, has received her fifth career nomination for Best Lead Actress in a Play, having previously won three times. After multiple award wins (including an Oscar) this year for her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, will Blanchett continue her prize collecting spree with a Helpmann at this years’ ceremony?

And speaking of the ceremony, which is hosted by actor Jonathan Biggins (his fifth time compering the awards), it will feature a performance of the brand new production of Les Misérables, which is currently showing in Melbourne. A performance by the cast of Strictly Ballroom and a medley from The King I will also feature at this years’ show. Other performers include Mark Vincent, The Chooky Dancers, The Zephyr Quartet and the Wharf Review.

A brand new lifetime achievement award will be handed out at the 14th Helpmann Awards, alongside the long-standing JC Williamson Award (which was presented to theatre producer John Frost OAM). The “Sue Nattrass Award”, named in honour of Live Performance Australia president Sue Nattrass, is given to someone who isn’t high-profile, but has made a large contribution to Australia’s live entertainment industry. The inaugural recipient will be ticketing consultant Patricia Boggs, who began her career in the theatre industry in the 1960′s, and has since worked with over 150 productions in Australia and abroad. Destination NSW received a special award for Vivid Sydney 2013, which has become part of Sydney’s calendar of annual events, and attracted close to 1 million visitors for the 3 week, winter art extravaganza. Russell Ger has won the Brian Stacey Award for emerging conductors, and an $8000 cash prize that comes with it.

The 14th Helpmann Awards ceremony will be presented in Sydney at the Capitol Theatre on August 18 and broadcast live on Foxtel’s Arena channel.

Helpmann Award nominations 2014:

Best musical
Strictly Ballroom the Musical, Global Creatures
Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, Howard Panter for Ambassador Theatre Group & John Frost
Sweet Charity, Luckiest Productions & Neil Gooding Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co.
The King & I, Opera Australia & John Frost

Best opera
The Turk in Italy, Opera Australia
The Melbourne Ring Cycle, Opera Australia
La Traviata, State Opera of South Australia, New Zealand Opera, Opera Queensland
Nixon in China, Victorian Opera

Best play
Roman Tragedies, Adelaide Festival
Angels in America, Belvoir
Waiting For Godot, Sydney Theatre Company
The Shadow King, Malthouse Theatre and Melbourne Festival in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals.

Best new Australian work
Jason De Santis & Eamon Flack, Wulamanayuwi & the Seven Pamanui, Darwin Festival and Performing Lines
Tom E Lewis and Michael Kantor, The Shadow King, Malthouse Theatre in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals.
Tom Wright, Black Diggers, Queensland Theatre Company and Sydney Festival in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals.
Rosemary Myers, Pinocchio, Windmill Theatre & State Theatre Company of South Australia

Best costume design
Catherine Martin, Strictly Ballroom the Musical
Gabriela Tylesova, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Sydney Theatre Company
Gabriela Tylesova, the Turk in Italy, Opera Australia
Roger Kirk, The King & I, Opera Australia & John Frost

Best lighting design
Geoff Cobham, Pinocchio, Windmill Theatre and State Theatre Company of South Australia
Matt Scott, Nixon in China, Victorian Opera
Nick Schlieper, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Sydney Theatre Company
Nigel Levings, The King & I, Opera Australia and John Frost

Best music direction
Andrew Worboys, Sweet Charity, Luckiest Productions & Neil Gooding Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co.
Fabian Russell, Nixon in China, Victorian Opera
Nicolette Fraillon, Cinderella, The Australian Ballet
Pietari Inkinen, The Melbourne Ring Cycle, Opera Australia

Best original score
David Chisholm, The Bloody Chamber, Malthouse Theatre
David Page and Paul Mac, Blak, Bangarra Dance Theatre
Iain Grandage, When Time Stops, Expressions Dance Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Jethro Woodward, Pinocchio, Windmill Theatre & State Theatre Company of South Australia
Nick Wales, AM I, Shaun Parker & Company in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals.

Best scenic design
Brian Thomson, The King & I, Opera Australia & John Frost
Gabriela Tylesova, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Sydney Theatre Company
Jonathan Oxlade, Pinocchio, Windmill Theatre & State Theatre Company of South Australia
Robert Cousins, The Melbourne Ring Cycle, Opera Australia

Best sound design
Jessica James-Moody, Sweet Charity, Luckiest Productions & Neil Gooding Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co.
Jethro Woodward, The Bloody Chamber, Malthouse Theatre
Michael Waters, The King & I, Opera Australia and John Frost
Tony David Cray, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour Madama Butterfly, Opera Australia

Best Australian contemporary concert
Tame Impala
Australian Chamber Orchestra featuring The Presets
Hunters & Collectors
Flume – Infinity Prism Tour

Best contemporary music festival
Bluesfest Byron Bay 2014
Vivid LIVE
Laneway Festival 2014
The Falls Music & Arts Festival

Best international contemporary concert
The Mrs Carter Show World Tour starring Beyonce
Eddie Vedder
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 2014
The Truth About Love Tour

Best direction of an opera
Chas Rader-Sheiber, Orlando, Hobart Baroque
Neil Armfield, The Melbourne Ring Cycle, Opera Australia
Roger Hodgmann, Nixon In China, Victorian Opera
Simon Phillips, The Turk In Italy, Opera Australia

Best female performer in a supporting role in an opera
Eva Jinhee Kong, Nixon In China, Victorian Opera
Jacqueline Dark, The Melbourne Ring Cycle, Opera Australia
Miriam Gordon-Stewart, The Melbourne Ring Cycle, Opera Australia

Best female performer in an opera
Christine Goerke, Elektra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Emma Matthews, The Turk In Italy, Opera Australia
Jessica Pratt, La Traviata, Victorian Opera
Kathryn Lewek, Orlando, Hobart Baroque

Best male performer in a supporting role in an opera
Andrew Collis, Cinderella, Opera Queensland
Daniel Sumegi, The Melbourne Ring Cycle, Opera Australia
Mario Bellanova, La Traviata, State Opera of South Australia, New Zealand Opera, Opera Queensland
Warwick Fyfe, The Melbourne Ring Cycle, Opera Australia

Best male performer in an opera
Barry Ryan, Nixon In China, Victorian Opera
Riccardo Massi, La Forza del Destino, Opera Australia
Stefan Vinke, The Melbourne Ring Cycle, Opera Australia
Terje Stensvold, The Melbourne Ring Cycle, Opera Australia
Yonghoon Lee, Tosca, Opera Australia

Best chamber and/or instrumental ensemble concert
The Jerusalem Project, Melbourne Recital Centre and Sydney Opera House
Tokyo String Quartet, Musica Viva Australia
Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin, Sydney Festival
Murray Perahia in Recital, Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Best symphony orchestra concert
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Arts Centre Melbourne, Perth Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Sydney Opera House
Bach Christmas Oratorio, Australian Chamber Orchestra
War Requiem, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Asher Fisch Conducts and Plays Mozart, West Australian Symphony Orchestra

Best individual classical music performance
Andreas Scholl, Andreas Scholl sings Vivaldi, Australian Chamber Orchestra
Julia Lezhneva, Julia Lezhneva with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Hobart Baroque
Mariss Jansons, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Arts Centre Melbourne, Perth Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Sydney Opera House
Murray Perahia, Melbourne Recital Centre in association with Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Best comedy performer
Ronny Chieng
Sam Simmons
The Boy With Tape On His Face
Tom Gleeson

Best cabaret performer
Jerick Hoffer (as Jinkx Monsoon)
The Vaudevillians starring Jinkx Monsoon, Strut & Fret Production House
Lady Rizo, presented by Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Sydney Festival
Sarah Ward
Yana Alana Between The Cracks, Ebony Bott at fortyfivedownstairs
Tommy Bradson: REG, Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Best ballet or dance work
Sadeh21, Adelaide Festival & Perth International Arts Festival
Bolshoi Ballet – The Bright Stream, Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Chroma, The Australian Ballet
Ballet At The Quarry: Radio and Juliet, West Australian Ballet

Best choreography in a dance or physical theatre production
Daniel Jaber, Nought, Australian Dance Theatre
Garry Stewart, Monument, The Australian Ballet
Natalie Weir, When Time Stops, Expressions Dance Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Rafael Bonachela, Les Illuminations, Sydney Dance Company and Sydney Opera House
Stephanie Lake, A Small Prometheus, Melbourne Festival, Arts House and Insite Arts

Best female dancer in a dance or physical theatre production
Charmene Yap, 2 in D Minor as part of Interplay, Sydney Dance Company
Dalisa Pigram, Gudirr Gudirr, Marrugeku. Presented by Sydney Festival
Fiona Evans, Onegin, West Australian Ballet
Lucinda Dunn, Manon, The Australian Ballet

Best male dancer in a dance or physical theatre production
Andre Santos, Russell Kerr’s Peter Pan, West Australian Ballet
Daniel Gaudiello, Cinderella, The Australian Ballet
James Vu Anh Pham, 247 Days, Chunky Move
Kimball Wong, Nought, Australian Dance Theatre

Best visual or physical theatre production
Opus, Circa.
Whelping Box, Branch Nebula, Matt Prest & Clare Britton, produced by Intimate Spectacle & Performing Lines, presented by Performance Space & Arts House
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (As You Like It), Perth International Arts Festival
Circus Under My Bed, Sydney Opera House, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Arts Centre Melbourne, The Flying Fruit Fly Circus

Best regional touring production
G, Australian Dance Theatre
Jack Charles vs The Crown, Ilbijerri Theatre Company
Djuki Mala, Chooky Dancers
Happy As Larry, Shaun Parker & Company

Best presentation for children
Miss Ophelia, Arts Centre Melbourne and Sydney Opera House
Storm Boy, Barking Gecko Theatre Company & Sydney Theatre Company
Wulamanayuwi & the Seven Pamanui, Darwin Festival & Performing Lines
The House Where Winter Lives, Perth International Arts Festival
Pinocchio, Windmill Theatre & State Theatre Company of South Australia

Best direction of a play
Andrew Upton, Waiting For Godot, Sydney Theatre Company
Ivo Van Hove, Roman Tragedies, Adelaide Festival
Michael Kantor, The Shadow King, Malthouse Theatre in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals.
Sam Strong, The Floating World, Griffin Theatre Company

Best female actor in a supporting role in a play
Elizabeth Debicki, The Maids, Sydney Theatre Company
Robyn Nevin, Angels In America, Belvoir
Susan Prior, Small and Tired, Belvoir
Zahra Newman, The Government Inspector, Belvoir & Malthouse Theatre

Best female actor in a play
Alison Whyte, The Bloody Chamber, Malthouse Theatre
Cate Blanchett, The Maids, Sydney Theatre Company
Ursula Yovich, Mother Courage and Her Children, Queensland Theatre Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Zahra Newman, The Mountaintop, Melbourne Theatre Company

Best male actor in a supporting role in a play
Ewen Leslie, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Sydney Theatre Company
Jimi Bani, The Shadow King, Malthouse Theatre in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals
Luke Mullins, Waiting for Godot, Sydney Theatre Company
Tom Budge, The Beast, Melbourne Theatre Company

Best male actor in a play
Denis O’Hare, An Iliad, Adelaide Festival and Perth International Arts Festival
Luke Carroll, The Cake Man, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company and Belvoir
Paul Blackwell, Vere (Faith), State Theatre Company of South Australia & Sydney Theatre Company
Richard Roxburgh, Waiting For Godot, Sydney Theatre Company

Best choreography in a musical
Andrew Hallsworth, Sweet Charity, Luckiest Productions & Neil Gooding Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co.
David Atkins & Dein Perry, Hot Shoe Shuffle, David Atkins Enterprises
John O’Connell, Strictly Ballroom The Musical, Global Creatures
Susan Kikuchi, The King & I, Opera Australia & John Frost

Best direction of a musical
Baz Luhrmann, Strictly Ballroom The Musical, Global Creatures
Christopher Renshaw, The King & I, Opera Australia & John Frost
Dean Bryant, Sweet Charity, Luckiest Productions & Neil Gooding Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co.
Rosemary Myers, Pinocchio, Windmill Theatre and State Theatre Company of South Australia

Best female actor in a supporting role in a musical
Debora Krizak, Sweet Charity
Heather Mitchell, Strictly Ballroom The Musical, Global Creatures
Lucy Maunder, Grease, John Frost
Shu-Cheen Yu, The King & I, Opera Australia & John Frost

Best female actor in a musical
Caroline O’Connor, Gypsy: A Musical Fable, The Production Company
Lisa McCune, The King & I, Opera Australia & John Frost
Phoebe Panaretos, Strictly Ballroom The Musical
Verity Hunt-Ballard, Sweet Charity, Luckiest Productions & Neil Gooding Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co.

Best male actor in a supporting role in a musical
Drew Forsythe, Strictly Ballroom, Global Creatures
Marty Rhone, The King & I, Opera Australia & John Frost
Reg Livermore, Wicked, Marc Platt, David Stone, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt, John Frost
Russell Dykstra, The Lion King, Disney Theatrical Productions

Best male actor in a musical
Craig McLachlan, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show, Howard Panter for Ambassador Theatre Group & John Frost
Josh Quong Tart, The Lion King, Disney Theatrical Productions
Martin Crewes, Sweet Charity, Luckiest Productions & Neil Gooding Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co.
Matt Hetherington, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, James Anthony Productions

Saving our fragile oceans

Plastics and pollutants make up the Great Pacific Gyre. Photo: Cesar Harada/flickr

 

BY ED BROWN

The third rock from the sun, a floating emerald and azure orb floating in orbit around a blazing star. Here is a place we call home and we have named it Earth. It is a wonderful place, bustling with life of various sizes, shapes, colours and types. It is a place of rolling hillsides, rocky mountains, fields of green grass and beautiful blue pools of water. If we examine these bodies of blue liquid, we would notice flora and fauna as diverse as we would see upon the land. At first glance, we would be inspired by the beauty, but upon closer inspection we would find a floating, pathetically synthetic island of debris. The great Pacific garbage patch is the phrase used in the media. A semi-romantic term about a choking pollutant that is slowly killing our oceans. The catastrophe was brought to our attention by Charles J. Moore, an oceanographer who has been instrumental in instilling awareness regarding the issue.

The Great Pacific garbage patch is just one of several debris fields floating in the oceans gyres. A gyre is a naturally forming vortex of wind and/or water. In oceanography it is any large system of rotating water. In the north Pacific, the gyre moves in a clockwise circular motion and is formed by four prevailing ocean currents: the North Pacific Current to the north, the California Current to the east, the North Equatorial Current to the south, and the Kuroshio Current to the west. These currents feed the gyre, usually various zooplankton, but the main migrant now is our rubbish. The worlds gyres help to regulate the temperatures of the of the global ocean and thus the world.

Being the most famous, the great pacific garbage patch is situated west of America, east of Japan and north of Polynesia. Yet these countries are not the sole contributors to the problem. Any coastal country with waters that feed into the pacific are in part responsible for the floating litter box. Its existence has been the death of many aquatic species of bird and fish. Numbers of zooplankton have decreased significantly to the dismay of oceanographers the world over. Birds and fish choke on floating plastic bags after mistaking the motions in the water for jelly-fish. Polymer pollutants also play a part in reducing numbers in plankton populations. Would you want to live in a land-fill?

This is not an issue to be ignored and thankfully some organisations have taken it upon themselves to help with the enormous clean-up. It transcends the notions of international borders and the responsibility or liability of nations. Awareness of the issue and the push for prevention of plastic pollution are the main tools used to educate people about the problem. Organisations such as 5 Gyres with Charles J Moore, Project Kaisei run by Mary T. Crowley from the Ocean Voyages Institute,  and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), which is run by the United States Department of Commerce, are the fore-runners in the movement for restoring our oceans.

You can also do your part, by recycling your rubbish and staying informed regarding the issue. The aforementioned organisations have volunteering and membership drives as a part of their policies, where you can become more involved in the solution. So, one day we can return to the beauty that has inspired many for eons and hopefully many more to come.