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Saturday, March 25, 2017

March 25. Day 84. Froth and bubbles


Size isn't everything, or so they say. But there are exceptions to every rule and in some things bigger is most assuredly better. These things include bubbles. Bubbles might just be nothing much more than soap and water - a combination children generally find rather toxic - but bubbles provide almost endless fascination. And when the bubble is big enough to engulf your whole body or durable enough to hold in the palm of your hand, well that's just magic. The thing is, however, that these bubbles were at the World Science Festival not the World Magic Festival so while it may all seem quite magical there are solid scientific principles at play. Don't ask me to explain the principles, I'm the only member of my family without a science-based degree. I know they exist I just have more of an interest in the people who make them and the people who play with them than the science behind it. That put me in a bit of a minority at a science festival. You should have seen the reception given to celebrity scientist Dr Karl. It was of rock star proportions. But this no celebrity behaving badly. Anyone who invites kids to make bunny ears behind his head deserves respect - and a big fat bubble.


Friday, March 24, 2017

March 24. Day 83. Explosive fun


You have to laugh. The day started with watching things being blown up and ended with a comedy debate. Yeah it's all funny until someone gets hurt. Okay the only thing really getting hurt at the moment is the recommended dietary intake and hours of sleep.  I suppose I could have gone home and crashed on the couch after a looonnnggg work week supervising students at The World Science Festival but a girl's gotta have fun. And a comedy debate seemed like just the right distraction. And I learned a lot. Honesty is not the best policy, at least that's what the audience decided. Funnily enough that's not what I heard which goes something like honesty might be the best policy but insanity is the best defence. Which probably proves I'm insane, honestly.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 23. Day 82. Hatching an idea



Feathers, fur or fins. It doesn't really seem to matter. Our appetite for baby animals shows no limit. One of the things he organisers of the second World Science Festival in Brisbane tried to do was ensure it was different from the first. That meant all new speakers, all new displays, all new special attractions. But there's no need to be silly about it. Some times if you are on to a good thing stick to it. Baby turtles hatching are 100% in that category. They may have been at the festival last year too but did that stop the crowds from queueing up around the museum building to get a look? No it did not. The baby turtles remain cute and the crowds seek them out. And the cameras (including our own QUT News crew) follow the crowds. Not having baby turtles at the festival would be like not having the animal nursery at the Ekka. You might find something else to put in its place but it wouldn't be the same.






Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 22. Day 81. Colour my world



Who doesn't like colouring in? I mean, seriously what's not to like especially if you are presented with an extra large box of pencils or a giant canvas or preferably both. It may not be rocket science but it's huge fun. Still it's ironic or sad or telling given all the recent media coverage about coral bleaching that the giant canvas at the World Science Festival is of a white reef. How tragic would a world be if the only colour on coral came in a box. Hopefully by getting children involved change will come. I'll be keeping an eye on the progress of the colouring during the festival (as well as keeping an eye on the journalism students covering the festival. This is, after all, my day job). Just a bit further down the corridor from the colouring in was another piece of temporary art, this one in chalk. Dom Intelisano of Zest Events hadn't completed his chalk robot but was prepared to ham it up for the camera. It might be the last chance he gets because day two of the festival promises to be much busier than day one and by the weekend it will be packed. After all, if you build it, they will come.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 21. Day 80. Open mouth

When you work around a university, especially one with a fashion department, you grow very used to the idea that just about anyone can get away with wearing just about anything. But even on campus there are limits - or so I thought. To be fair I wasn't exactly on campus but in a community garden between university precincts. Here's the weird thing, in one corner there was a scarecrow, the point of which, I assume was to keep birds away. In another corner was a bloke in his undies feeding bread to the turkeys. It has to be said the sight of a bloke in nothing but his smalls was far more terrifying than the scarecrow. But he was all for encouraging not scaring off the birds. Of course he would have been trying to kill them with kindness. Scrub turkeys are particularly unpopular and wildlife experts strenuously warn against feeding human food to native animals. But I suspect not. A man in his undies doesn't strike me as the type of bloke likely to care much about what other think.

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20. Day 79. Rain, rain go away


 We really needed rain. Everyone has been praying for rain. And we poor city folk were excited - for about 20 seconds. And then it just because tiresome. Today the rain came and went. Came and went. It seemed to want to come at the moments I needed to move about in the great outdoors and go when I was safely inside. Well not entirely. I had promised to take my neighbour Margaret to the dentist. Given just how long it takes to get her into and out of a taxi it would have been a slow and very, very soggy expedition. But on that errand at least the rain held off. Others were not so lucky. Later in the day outside the ABC at South Bank I watched people dealing with the rain. There was quite a lot of standing around waiting for the tropical downpour to ease. Then people would give up and run. Despite a long time standing conducting surveillance the number of people I saw running straight into a large puddle was extraordinary. There will be a lot of very wet footwear in Brisbane tonight. I remind myself we needed the rain and I believe it right until I get another whiff or wet footwear.







Sunday, March 19, 2017

March 19. Day 78. Move Yer Bloomin' Arse



My jaw dropped twice at the Lyric Theatre tonight and that was before the curtain opened.
The first time was when sitting in our seats the penny dropped that Drama Teen had never seen My Fair Lady performed on stage. Never. Ever. Admittedly he was 10 when it was last in town in 2008 but I really didn't think there was any big name musical he'd missed and certainly not one I love as much as My Fair Lady. I have failed as a mother. Again. The second time was when applause rang out for someone sneaking into her seat during the overture. Okay, the "someone" was none other than the amazing Dame Julie Andrews, the production's director, but I have never seen a reaction quite like it. And it was repeated after intermission. Astounding. And totally warranted. She is a phenomenon and the show was phenomenal. The Opera Australia and John Frost production delivers a version that is religiously faithful to the original. There's not even the faintest whiff of the modern obsession with updating and reimaging classic productions for today's audiences. Given that Julie Andrews was the original Broadway Eliza there was little chance of that. But one day someone will present a post- apocalyptic version where Henry is trying to teach an alien Eliza to speak like a human and it will worse than all those things Eliza wants to do to Henry in Just you Wait. But this 60th anniversary version is a nostalgia trip. It's flowing frocks and glittering gowns. It's that Ascot scene where a pretty in pink Eliza shines against the colourless British upper crust. It delivers what every good stage musical should - a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Move yer bloomin arse to QPAC and see it. It's positively smashing.
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

March 18. Day 77. It's a kind of magic


"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present." I have this Buddha quote on a little green cardboard square thanks to a living statue in the Queen Street Mall today. This golden bloke was apparently hovering mid air and in the process drawing quite a bit of attention to himself, as well he might. It looked awesome. People were gasping but then there were those determined to spoil. Someone who apparently know how it was done was determined to let everyone know just how "clever" he was. I was more than happy to know but heard it anyway which is a shame. For that moment at least I had been living in the present. Kids are much better at that. Just before hitting the Mall I had been at The Cube with my friend Alison and her three-year-old Elliott. He was blown away with the giant interactive screens which allowed he to throw virtual blocks into the air and watch them hover or fall. The massive screens demonstrated gravitational force. Touch the screen and you can move which planet you are on. The sun grows or shrinks and so does the gravity. On some planets it's really easy to propel the blocks into the air. On others almost impossible. Now Elliott is a very bright young thing but I'm pretty sure the finer points of all that were lost on him. But did he care? Not one bit. In that moment he was squealing with delight as he watched things fly and fall. And no-one tried to spoil it for him. Which is how it should be.


Friday, March 17, 2017

March 17. Day 76. Keep your eyes on your fries




There's an ad which is getting rather a lot of airplay at the moment. It's advertising, of all things, advertising. A bloke is under hypnosis in a therapist's office "How do you feel?" the therapist asks. "I feel like a Toohey's," he replies. Every question is met with another advertising slogan. A good copywriter can devise a campaign which will stay in your head at times decades later. Like Macca's (although I don't think we referred to the Golden Arches as Maccas back then). Every time I see the Ibis near my office pinching the chips from a plate I am taken back to 1978 and the Keep Your Eyes on Your Fries McDonald's ads. That was a golden age of McCommercials. I reckon that was around the time when we were told "Choosy cheese choosers always say cheese please when they choose for the cheesy cheeseburgers at McDonald's". And it's decades since I've eaten a Big Mac but I still know it's made from two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun thanks to advertising. Which proves everything - and nothing. It proves advertising can get into your head but it doesn't prove it can get into your wallet. It's just like the ibis that can get into a bowl by handing over no cash at all. Good work if you can get it. Now all we need is another campaign to reming people to protect their food, especially the fries.






Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 16. Day 75. Eat up



 I have a healthy appetite by which I mean I am a greedy pig. Seriously While some people have food fears, I fear not eating far more. As I watch things such as I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and see people getting all precious about eating things such as slugs I think "get over yourself". Why are snails and frogs legs officially food but other creepy crawlies, not so much? Tradition only, I reckon. I'd give it a go. I'd fear getting back to camp and having nothing to eat but two lentils and a chick pea. That would kill me. Deny me of food, the blood sugar drops and the hangry animal comes out. A hungry/angry Susan is not a creature you'd like to meet on a dark night. Actually, I hungry/angry Susan is not someone you'd ever like to meet. When I see other creatures attack food I see me. The gusto with which the little corellas I saw this afternoon were attacking their leaves rather reminded me with a bowl of pasta or a pie. There was no stopping them and the noises of contentment were something else. Bless their little greedy beaks. We are birds of a feather ...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 15. Day 74. Wooden performance



One of the techniques suggested for those with  a fear of public speaking is to imagine one's audience in their smalls. As someone who used to suffer from extreme stage fright I'm not sure that would help at all. Fortunately, for reasons I don't understand and completely unrelated to people in their undies, audiences don't worry me any more. If it was a problem, I have a new Susan-patented technique. Imagine the people in front of you as crash test dummies. I think this would work because in many of my lectures, particularly those in the early morning, I secretly suspect the human-like figures in front of me are actually low tech droids created with no intelligence artificial or otherwise and certainly no communication skills. They kind of look the part but it's "lights on no-one home". And I'm not the only one. A colleague says he teaches holograms. Perhaps the problem is I'm wooden and they are just trying to blend in. Who knows. Around campus picking the live creatures from the dummies is obviously a "thing". The trees are full of carvings of wildlife. On a quick glance you can be tricked. Today I thought my eyes were playing tricks. There was a carve cockatoo where I expected it to be and next to it? Those feathers sticking out of the tree looked kind of real and was new. And then it crawled out of the hole and revealed itself as totally alive and kicking. Next week I might even discover life in the lectures. I live in hope.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 14. Day 73. Infinite possibilities

Infinite possibilities existing together: Director Kat Henry

I reckon we suffer from warning fatigue to the point that it becomes just Blah Blah nudity, Blah Blah course language, Blah Blah stylized cartoon violence. My theory is it comes from being a litigious society. Well here's my warning for you. Take the warning on Constellations, the new production by Queensland Theatre, seriously.  This production contains adult themes (coarse language, sexual references, assisted suicide/ euthanasia). For help or information contact: Lifeline 131 114, beyondblue 1300 224 636, SuicideLine 1300 651 251. 
Which makes it sound all dire and heavy going and it is - except when it isn't. Because here is the genius of Constellations. This is a play about quantum physics and multiverse theory where "every choice you've ever and never made exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes". So it's a love story and a story of love gone wrong and love that might have been of regrets and no regrets all at the same time. It took me right to my dying father's bedside where all those "I wish I'd said" and "I wish I hadn't said" exist in parallel and simultaneously and the tears flowed. Of course in another multiverse version, this play could be dire. The same scenes played over and over with slight variations in words, in intonations, in body language in outcomes could be boring as batshit. Perhaps for some in the audience it was. Perhaps on another night in another mood I would have felt the same. But not tonight. Tonight was a celebration of art meets science (it's the first World Science Festival event and a co production with the Queensland Museum). I loved it at every level Rating 5/5
And one last warning. Not one of the infinite possibilities played out on the Bille Brown Studio stage involves people arriving late. They won't let you in.
Constellations by Queensland Theatre plays at the Bille Brown Studio until April 9 before touring regionally 

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Monday, March 13, 2017

March 13. Day 72. Need a little lie down


Seriously I thought I had turned sleeping into an artform but it turns out my efforts are not as monumental as I believed. Enter Ron Mueck who quite frankly is a show off. His work In Bed is massive. It's huge by which I mean  1.6 metres high, 6.5 metres long and 4 metres wide and created by a sh*t load of polyester resin, fibreglass, polyurethane, horse hair and cotton. It dwarfs just about everything in one gallery of The Gallery of Modern Art. Like the woman in the installation I seriously believe in taking napping seriously. I am not one to doze off on the couch watching TV or slumped in a bean bag or during a movie. If a nap is needed, a proper nap is commissioned wherever possible. Others, I see, are more laissez faire about it. In and around the arts precinct at lunch time people were lying around. I was especially impressed by the woman napping on the bean bags at GOMA. It was National Napping Day, after all. To be fair they looked comfy, the air con is really cool and it's free. If need be there's also rather fast internet. For some, that's worth getting out of bed for.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March 12. Day 71. You have to laugh

Drama Teen poses with Hughsie after the show

A girl needs a good laugh. This is why I always make a point of attending at least one event at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. With such a wide range of acts to choose between, it can be difficult to decide where to splash the cash. I take an approach a bit like a bride at a wedding - something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. The blue bit is easy. It seems almost compulsory for stand up comedians to litter their acts with F bombs. I am totally no prude but seriously I don't find them side splittingly funny or clever either. The borrowed is pretty much a given too. Comedians all seem to borrow from each other, that's not a bad thing it just is. Which brings us to the old and new. Here I am not speaking about the age of the comedian. I like one performer I am totally familiar with - and Dave Hughes tonight ticked that box. Then I am happy to try out someone I know nothing about, take a risk on something new. That will come later. As Sunday nights go there can be a lot worse things to do than have a laugh with the family.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March 11. Day 70. I Scream for Ice Cream


The other night, at the inspiration of the play Every Brilliant Thing I made a list of things I find brilliant. In the production the number one thing our protagonist finds brilliant is ice cream. It didn't make my top 10 but had my list continued, ice cream totally would have made the cut. Also on the list would have been festivals. I love a good festival. So an ice cream festival - well that has to be a little bit awesome. It would appear I am not the only one. The tickets were free but you had to register. My husband, who is the real ice cream addict in our house, snapped some up. Which made us among the lucky ones. The tickets became hot property with people willing to pay to get their hands one. As it turns out this led to a few people having a bit of a melt down. The "bit" of a melt down turned into the full ice cream drip with reports of many of those with tickets failed to show up. Even so it was pretty hot and crowded in the historic Peters Ice Cream Factory where the festival was held. Any more and it would have been unbearable even with the addition of ice cream. But considering the heat and the queues people were pretty good natured about it. After all, if you have a golden ticket like Charlie and his Chocolate Factory it would be wrong to throw a tantrum of the likes of Veruca Salt. Social media was awash with complaints about the ticketing, about the crowding, about the organisers. If I'd had small children or travelled a long way I may have been less generous. What the festival showed was that Brisbane-ites have a big appetite for ice cream and a big intolerance for poor organisation. My guess is the festival will be back with a few modifications.











Friday, March 10, 2017

March 10. Day 69. The people that you meet each day

"Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
Say, who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day"
Because I am such a child, my inner love for Sesame Street is never far below the surface. I find myself singing such things as "one of these things is not like the other" or "rubber ducky" or "Sunny Day" more often than a woman in her 50s really should. But today the song that came to mind was the Who are the people in your neighbourhood". I like to think I know a fair bit about my neighbourhood and yet today I saw something I'd never seen before. It was a Gum Removal Vehicle. Turns out there are special vehicles and operators with the specific purpose of removing chewing gum. This is both awesome and tragic. It is tragic that people are so disrespectful of their environment that they would throw chewing gum in places that would require others to pick up after them. As someone who still remembers getting gum in her hair off a seat in the back of the school bus aged about 12, the idea there are people dedicated to remove gum is awesome. And the gum removal man was such a character  I couldn't help but smile.

Every Brilliant Thing. Review

British actor James Rowland after the show
What makes life worth living? It's a huge question and one that can't possibly be solved by one man in one hour. But asking the question is just as important as finding the answer and Every Brilliant Thing does this is a way that just might move you to tears (And by you I mean me, obviously). The premise is this. A seven-year-old is told his mum is in hospital. She ‘done something stupid’. She finds it hard to be happy. So he makes a list of all the brilliant things in the world like ice cream and staying up late. As he ages, so does his understanding and so the list grows. This feels like it is biographical but it isn't. British actor James Rowland - performing the one man show for the first time in Brisbane - really feels like he is revealing his struggle. There's such a truth. It is so real, so raw. The real surprise is, however, that this intimate production about depression is also really, really funny. Add this to the list of things you must do this week and take a teenager you care about with you if you can. You won't regret is.
4.75/5
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 Inspired by Every Brilliant Thing, you're being asked to share one brilliant thing that you think makes life worth living. Use the #BrilliantThingsProject hashtag on Instagram or Twitter, or visit qpac.com.au/the-creatory
So in no particular order, the first 10 things that came into my head:
  1. Dogs 
  2. Walking on the beach
  3. Sleeping in
  4. Afternoon naps
  5. The smell of a baby
  6. A child's giggle
  7. Food someone else cooks and washes up afterwards
  8. Nailing an awesome photo 
  9. The collective electricity in an audience when the lights go down
  10. Mail without any window envelopes


Thursday, March 9, 2017

March 9. Day 68. When I grow up


My Dad never much liked being a dentist. But what does a dentist do with the skills he has if not pull teeth? It's an interesting question and in an ever changing world so many of us will be forced to figure out what we are good at and what other ways those things might be employed. I discussed these issues in a two hour meeting with a former work colleague today. These days he's in the business of business advice. For someone like me the question might be this: How might I turn the things I do for nothing (all that social media, commentary, photography and writing for instance) into something that pays? Or if I wanted to lose the security of a fortnightly pay cheque what skills to I take with me that might be turned into a way to put food on the table? In case you are wondering, no I have no immediate plans to jump ship. BUT working out what I want to do when I grow up is something I ponder often - and then I decide I'm not ready to grow up. Fresh from lunch I found myself at South Bank where a bloke was very publicly dancing alone. He told me he wanted to one day be a dancer and that meant being prepared to practice and put yourself out there. So he was dancing on the lawns of South Bank. At least he has the courage to give it a go.