Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feature: 'An FPS Christmas' for Frock Paper Scissors

For Frock Paper Scissors.

Is your favourite Christmas movie The Grinch? Do you blanch at $50 baubles and screw your nose up at forced festive cheer? if you still want to join in the celebrations this silly season – minus the gaudy Santa cutouts – take our advice.

Local Brisbane artist Lauren Carney has your cutely warped gifts (and possibly Christmas Cards) sorted at her lovely Etsy shop – think Santa bomb-diving into a pool of horrified children. There’s some gorgeous eco-friendly and fair trade decorations at Biome for those who need a kick up the bum in the tinsel department, and they’ve got a nifty gift guide too. Their gifts are for anyone who thinks the spend-a-thon that proceeds December 25 should be put to better use, or at least not wasted on throw-away ties and socks made in sweatshops. An even brighter idea for the anti-consumerist within you is a Really Wild Gift that goes towards WSPA’s charity work. You can even tailor it to benefit your loved one’s favourite creatures. Plus, if anyone asks what you got your mum for Christmas, you can say “vitamin enriched orangutan milk” or “oh, I saved a bear on her behalf, no big”.

If these get you in the spirit, there’s free events abound this season – from fighting for a spot to view the beautiful Myer window display on the Queen St Mall, to the Festival of Carols at Albert Street Uniting Church on December 17. We can also take some pride in the King George Square Christmas tree this year, as it’s the world’s largest solar powered pine, with over 16,000 lights. If ‘bah, humbug’ is still on your lips, you could always drive around and mock the efforts of this year’s Christmas Lights Winners, or catch a screening of sadistic Finnish Christmas flick Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale.
Merry Christmas from the FPS team, regardless of whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: 'Morning Glory' for Tom Magazine

For TOM Magazine.

Morning Glory could have been a welcome break from the circuit of summer rom-coms and thrillers, but Aline Brosh McKenna’s scripting results in a wholly unsatisfying payoff. Rachel McAdams finally gets the kind of lead role she deserves, as the bubbly and hard-working morning television producer Becky Fuller. McAdams is always a delight, and Ford and Keaton have long proven their ability to save a struggling film. From the same screenwriter as The Devil Wears Prada, and with similarities abound, Morning Glory gets off to a great start. Unfortunately, the talented lead trio becomes the only reason to keep watching past the halfway mark.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review: The Holy Sea for Tom Magazine

For TOM Magazine, original article here

 The Holy Sea
Ghosts of the Horizon (An Ocean Awaits/Fuse)
There are a handful of stunning records released by Australian artists every year. There are less unashamedly Australian records, fewer still ambitious offerings commentating an exclusively Australian experience. I dont want to prematurely jump on the bandwagon of those hailing Ghosts of the Horizon as an iconic Aussie record (The Holy Seas own team suggest it "has the hallmarks of a landmark Australian album"). I will say it is refreshing to hear something both musically accomplished and politically important; an aurally appealing voice with something of worth to say.

s easy to compare lead singer and writer Henry F. Skerritt to Nick Cave and other predecessors, but what he, and the entire epic seven-man (and woman) folk-rock outfit present, is a unique sense of characterisation. With strong imagery, and ballads written from the perspective of real-life figures such as Seargent Chris Hurley (the moving King of Palm Island) and Van Diemens Land Governor George Arthur (Arthurs Lament), this is folk-rock poetry. Throw in a pinch of personal reflection, some contemporary suburban tales, guts and fire and you have Ghosts of the Horizon. The whole package seems to ache with the residue of our colonial past, our own ghosts, without feeling irrelevant to its contemporary listeners.

This begs to be bought, borrowed, copied off the radio using an old tape recorder, if not just for the vulnerability and clever concision of Skerritt
s lyrics. Throughout the nine tracks, Skerritt writes modern bush poetry, with a bitter, lonely stain.  From the contrasted landscapes of single Bad Luck; "I groped to find your stars unlit as the wilderness turned winter in your sullen breast" to the melodies of This River; "like a general in her kitchen, she keeps it ship-shape/and one day, well her ship might come in/she always did like the ocean".

This record benefitted from each listen, as another poignant lyric, a greater resonance, was uncovered. Give it time to gestate, and who knows, maybe it will become a pivotal Australian album, or maybe you
ll just grow to really appreciate The Holy Sea after eleven years of music making.
[Anna Angel]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Chris Pickering at The Globe for Rave Magazine

Gig review, read the original here, or in the latest Rave, issue 970, pg 30.

The Globe - Fri Dec 3

Arriving at The Globe to news their doors are staying open, at least for now, I’m invited to ‘review the venue, not the bands’. It does feels right to stretch out on the worn carpet to take in the voyeuristically intimate shows of Nashville-returned alt-country artists Catherine Britt and Brisbane’s own Chris Pickering. But the crowd, which plateaus at around the 50 or 60 mark, are here for the music (barring the gentleman passed out in the middle of the room).

As candidly confessional in her song introductions as in her lyrics, Britt dedicates What I Did Last Night to the hangovers we’ll sport come morning, and bares the chip on her shoulder, launching into the arresting Call You Back Town. My current emotional state is akin to a floodgate, so it’s no surprise the raw emotion of Too Far Gone chokes me up. A lovelorn rendition of Sweet Emmylou is another highlight, as Britt proves her song’s point – good music can be medicinal.

Chris Pickering opens by performing a duet with Britt on Cool Southern Night. The pair work wonderfully together, especially later on Fisherman’s Daughter. He plays to his crowd – deadpan and slightly selfdeprecating, but ever grateful. From jokes following a spine-tingling Hasta Luego, to calling the beautiful I Just Want To Love a ballad for “you sensitive bunch”, he proves to have none of the ego of the musical heavyweights he is often compared to. The audience livens slightly during the up-beat Fit To Print and calls for an encore, amidst which is a stunning version of Love Hurts, making me concede this whole tour was designed as a comfort hug to the heartbroken. It’s an unfortunately small affair for the final leg of their national Fact Or Fiction tour, but that doesn’t stop them from demonstrating exactly why they deserve a much bigger hurrah.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Review: 'Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale' for Tom Magazine

For TOM Magazine. Read the original review here.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Director: Jalmari Helander.

Jorma Tommila, Onni Tommila, Peeter Jakobi, Rauno Juvonen, Per Christian Ellefsen

Reviewed by Anna Angel
This novel, sinister Christmas tale began in 2003 as a short by Finnish director Jalmari Helander that quickly gained momentum on the internet. Quirky ideas that capture audiences for a matter of minutes don’t necessarily translate into feature-length films, so it’s interesting to see if Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale can avoid going stale.

This is the antithesis of 1998’s
A Very Brady Christmas and any recent Hollywood offering (though there’s a distinct lack of cheesy Christmas releases this year, which is somewhat disappointing). This is not an uplifting movie, and there are no Christian morals to be shared. Helander’s Santa Claus is decidedly different to Coca-Cola’s version  -  so different that he sniffs out and smacks to death any children in his vicinity, rather than gifting them the latest Mattel creations. 

Feature: 'Travel Writing' for Frock Paper Scissors

Written for Frock Paper Scissors. I do love Bookcrossing! Read the original article here.

I left Jonathan Safran Foer at the Balmoral Cineplex, his orange spine camouflaged against the taxi service phone. The next morning he was gone, and I haven’t heard from him since. The pursuit of Doctor Who brought me to Albion train station in the early hours of the morning, and I almost lost hope when Stephen King wasn’t waiting at a sodden park bench. That was, until a friend unwittingly sat next to Thomas Hardy on the Caboolture line, and introduced him to me.

Feature: 'Eat Your Greens!' for Frock Paper Scissors

An in-depth guide to Brisbane's vegetarian and vegan restaurants written for Frock Paper Scissors. I won't post it in full here, but any Brisbane veggo or possible veggo should take a look!

As a seasoned Brisbane veggo, I have some words of wisdom. We are not welcome at Breakfast Creek or Norman Hotel. While times have changed and vegetarians are catered for at most other venues, it gets a bit boring eating side chips and salad, or the token cream-based veg pasta at every meal out. More choice – a whole menu of options – and quality meat-free and vegan options are tucked away at a number of eateries across our fine city. Some you can take your partner’s conservative parents to, while some will frighten your relations with drum circles and hypnotic chanting. Here’s a handy guide of where to go, when, and with whom.

Read the full article here.

Feature: 'Many hands' for Frock Paper Scissors.

Written for Frock Paper Scissors.

By Anna Angel
They say birds of a feather flock together; this is especially true of Brisbane’s community of independent crafters.
The success of local artistic collectives like BrisStyle has given rise to new avenues for artists and shoppers to connect. The first franchise of Melbourne’s In.cube8r gallery, where independent artists lease small spaces to sell their wares commission-free, officially launched in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley in August 2010.
In 2007, Isy Galey opened In.cube8r, which she labels “Coles-Myer on a smaller scale”, after struggling to find economically viable ways to market her glasswork to the public.
“I have always thought – and I’ve been making my whole life – that commission kills handmade,” she says.
Her success and passion has paved the way for the store, run by Vicki Sinclair, on Wickham Street to emerge as a staple among the Valley’s artistic tapestry, where shoppers have overwhelmingly embraced local crafters.
“Nothing compares to a product that’s made by hand, and because the item has been made without pressure, and not under duress in a sweatshop environment, that person is able to put love and thought behind it,” Galey says.

Original article and images here or read after the jump.