Sunday, June 23, 2013

May Round Up

Here's the round-up for May, another month flying by...
First off the 42 things:
1. More Live Music
Katie Noonan: I had the pleasure of seeing Katie at Lizotte's with S, C and E. Been a fan since her George days, and love her classical, pop and jazz infused style. The support, Playwright, were excellent; with the singer sounding very much like Jeff Buckley. Katie came on after a short break with just a keyboard, wow! She sung a mix of everything and had us in the palm of her hand with her wonderful stories, lovely humour and stunning voice. We lined up later to purchase CDs and books, she was humble and sweet, taking the time to chat and sign what we purchased. A true star!!!

14. Whip my little backyard into shape
With Autumn fading, I have been spending time in my small backyard, or rather the side and front sections. Trimming trees and hedges, tidying and digging in the dirt. I do try to keep things simple as I can go for weeks, months without touching any of it, so high maintenance work is out of the question. But have got it looking more tidy and pleasing. Plus, I enjoy working in the garden, it is good for the soul I think.

19. Eat and drink out more
This has been a fabulous month for trying new places, brand new places in fact. After the French Film Festival opening night, A, L, M & I visited Grain Store Bar, a boutique beer bar in the old View Factory building. Huge selection of beers, great atmosphere and a cool crowd, a lovely addition to Newcastle East. A few days later L & I lunched at Soul Foods, in the old Bank/KFC building, a delicious array of home cooked, healthy and organic foods to choose from. Finally the superb Agosti Espresso on Darby rounds out my trio of new places in Newcastle. A shining beacon at the Hunter Street end of Darby, Agosti has a fabulous bar with cocktails, wines, beers, coffees etc, a large breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, plus a dessert cabinet. The settings are shiny, expansive and expensive looking, very deco and very modern at the same time. Add in a club lounge mezzanine and I never felt so completely at home in a cafe. Highly recommend! I do like lunch at Belmont 16 footers, usually not too busy during the week, the menu ok though best if you choose from the a la carte rather than the precooked options. I mostly like it for the superb views, even on a cold overcast day, the bay at Belmont is luring. I lunched with D for a catch up and whilst a cool day, the views were, as always, lovely.

22. Wash my car more often
Yes, I have been doing this, and both the car and myself feel the better for it. Never my favourite job, but on warm day with a shiny car at the end, you do feel good!
23. Spend more time with my niece and nephew
I had a lovely day on Mother's Day at the Forsyth farm. Our parents still holidaying in Qld, it was to celebrate my sister K and we had a great family day. I had a lot of fun playing tennis with the kids and dogs after lunch. I was throwing the ball for the kids to hit and the dogs brought the ball back to me. After a short while Mr 10 tired, and the dogs not long after, but Miss 5, seemingly charged like the energizer bunnies was unstoppable. Only a walk around the dams later gave my aching arms a rest!

26. Go to the Farmers Markets regularly
This has become a regular routine now. I only skip the fortnightly markets if I am working or the weather is very wet. I have regular stalls I purchase produce from and find it very difficult to leave without my gozleme for breakfast and a bunch of flowers. I almost always run into someone I know, and the walk is also lovely with the lake shimmering at that time of the morning. 

31. Have fun and laugh more at work
We have been working hard at Swansea Library but also having a great time. Having a 3D printer at our hands to showcase to the community has been a blast, with a lot of media attention and phones running off the hook with queries. The attention has been enjoyable and we've had lots of fun and laughs with it. We were also lucky to host a gentleman who paints in the Chinese style earlier in the month. His paintings were superb, but his very, very zen state and descriptions were what captured me. The way he described his brushstrokes and what he is going to paint were fascinating. It made you feel you could do it yourself, I purchased some beautiful hand painted cards.

33. Go to lots of fun social events
As always Newcastle has been a bevy of great events. There was the French Film Festival and shOUT (gay) Film Festival showing simultaneously one weekend at the Tower cinemas.

You can read about it here:
Then L & I went to The Great Gatsby premiere, also at The Towers:

The Bibliotweeps bookclub fell twice during the month. We met early to talk Anna Karenina, a book we all really wanted to read, but with busy lives and 700 odd pages of tiny writing found it difficult to finish. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, but found the detail too much and the huge array of similarly sounding names difficult to keep track of. We are continuing to read it and will check in each month to see how we are faring. Later we met to chat about Let's explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. I adore Sedaris, he is one of my favourite writers. He writes his memoirs in the form of short essays and is incredibly funny. He was easy to finish and was enjoyed by all.

36. Take time to do nothing and daydream more often
I've spent a lot of time photographing rainbows and sunsets this month. And sitting to enjoy the spectacular shows they both have put on. It's a good feeling to pull the car over, get out and just take in the beauty of nature and daydream. I highly recommend it!

Books read
Book Club Books as mentioned above and have been re-reading all of Sedaris! Also been listening to him read his own stories on Talking Book, he is the master as far as this is concerned, he writing is dry, so listening to him tell his stories adds a whole other layer. I always suggest to those new to Sedaris, to go online and youtube him and you will want to devour his books immediately!

I also read the book of Silver Linings Playbook, and I almost always prefer the book over the movie, but not in this case. The movie was superior, harsher in parts and softer in other. Very interesting.

I read a memoir called Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L Scott. It is about her time in Paris as an exchange student. She was placed with a wealthy family and her boyfriend with a more bohemian type of family. The books details her experiences and also goes through what she learnt from living in another country. Fascinating. 

Yay, RocKwiz is back. This would have to be my favourite show. Set in the seedy Esplanade Hotel in my beloved St Kilda with Julia (I want to be her when I grow up) Zemiro as host, this pub style trivia show is pure gold. Zemiro is quick witted, amiable and perfect. Brian, the brains trust, is quirky and a fellow music lover. The three piece band, tight and remarkable. The audience members collected for the panels rarely make you squirm and the musical guests are always superb. I adore the duet at the end and love to see how good I go on the questions. With Million Dollar Riff being my area of expertise! I watch the show with a large number of tweeps, most of whom are now close friends I have met in real life and we have a blast chatting online throughout the show! Worth staying in each Saturday night I must say!!

I always say I am not a fan of Australian television (it is usually too parochial) but my other favourite, Offspring, has returned. I have loved Asher Keddie since her Love My Way days and feel I have a little of her Nina in me! But it is Kat Stewart's Billie that steals the show, every time...she kills me. A huge ensemble cast, showing what families are really like, quirky and funny one moment and drop down tragic the next. 

So, there you go two Aussie tele shows to love...who would've thunk it!?!

Other than the Film Festival films and The Great Gatsby, I have only seen one other movie this month and that was Star Trek. I love the original series, so was concerned when this was rebooted, and you know it was pretty darn good. What I love the most about this is the fabulous casting, each new cast member, not only resemble the original cast but takes on their persona. What a coup! The story for this one was not as great and it lacked the impact of the first, however I had fun. Look, this is Star Trek, it is not Academy Award winning drama, and I just watch such films for the ride. The lack of female characters is annoying, but it is based on a 60s TV show, other than Uhuru, you didn't get many women, so it is what it is! Cumberbatch was a great villain, but I still wanted a bit more. We shall see where the franchise heads from here.

I watched a lot of DVDs this month:

Magic Mike - I didn't mind this, it was more about the struggle of the characters than the fact they were male strippers. This is not why I watched the film, I find the whole male stripper thing repulsive, and I think that was the point of the movie. But it is Soderbergh and it had Channing Tatum (who does nothing for me in the looks department either, he looks like a drip if you ask me!) who I think is becoming an interesting actor. It doesn't come highly recommended, but you know, it was solid!

Seven Psychopaths - oh I loved this! Written and directed by Martin McDonagh who did In Bruges which I also loved. Starring Sam Rockwell, Colin Farell, Christopher Walken, Harry Dean Stanton, Woody Harrelson and Tom Waits. I LOVE these actors, and they must have had a hoot making this film about psychopaths. Farell is a screen writer, trying to write a film about psychopaths but struggling, all the while psychopathic behaviour is surrounding him, and he takes a while to clue up. It is funny, dark and violent, but in a cool Taratinoesque way. The dialogue is astonishing, Walken steals the film (of course), with Waits coming in a close second. But Farell is great in this, he was also great in In Bruges, so obviously McDonagh knows how to write for him! I highly recommend this is you don't mind a bit of violence.

Game Change  - is the made for tele movie about Sarah Palin starring Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, and Ed Harris. It's a solid effort with Moore nailing Palin, and a very interesting behind the scenes look at the campaign and what went on. Suffice to say she was even less smart than we thought, so much so I almost felt sorry for her at times...almost, but not quite! What I love the most about Game Change is it was written by Danny Strong, who Buffy fans will remember as Jonathan!!
The hunter  - this is a superb Australian film starring Willem Dafoe as an animal hunter tracking Tasmanian Tigers....yes, Tasmanian Tigers!! It is a very haunting film, set in the Tasmanian bush, it has the feel of Picnic at Hanging Rock and Japanese Story, whereby, you are waiting for something to happen. It is eerie and thrilling, and also speaks to environmental issues. I really loved this, one of the best Australian films I have seen in a long while. The cast is rounded out by Frances O'Connor and Sam Neil.
La Traviata - this is the filmed version of the classic opera as staged on Sydney Harbour. You know, with the humungous Swarovski crystal chandelier! It is a larger than life Opera and even more so on this remarkable set. It is romantic, and gorgeous and sumptuous and sexy, as all good Opera should be, but the stars twinkling in the sky, the Bridge and Opera House within shot and actual fireworks add a few extra layers of dazzling perfection. If you love Opera, or want to start enjoying Opera, this is a must see!!!
Mammuth - an interesting French film with my beloved Gerard Depardieu. GD is retiring work and finds out he won't get his pension as the government does not have the details of his other jobs. So he sets off on a journey on his bike to his past 10 employees to see if he can track the paperwork. Sounds odd, but is sooo French! Some of the journey is funny, poigant, sad, odd, there are sexual encounters and trips down memory lane. To be honest it sounds better than it was, it was good, but not great. I found his usual impecable acting rather sloppy and annoying. Mon Dieu!
Take this Waltz - oh I loved this too. About a young married couple, Michelle Williams and Seth Rogan, but she is restless and falls in love with their neighbour. At first theirs is an affair of the mind, and whilst you feel for her husband, you see how happy the 'new' couple are together and it makes more sense. It is the kind of film where you constantly change your stance and have your morals challenged. It is very bohemian and subtle, stunningly acted. I loved this a lot, I think about it a lot, I still don't know what I feel. I won't tell you what happens, I am not sure I know myself. Williams continues to dazzle me, I am yet to see a performance I don't like. Also a great supporting turn from Sarah Silverman, who I also like a lot.
Cabin in the Woods - this was pure silly and I can't say I loved it.  It did intrigue me. A group of teens go to a cabin in the woods and mysterious things happen, but who is controlling them, are they being controlled at all and why!! Sort of a thriller, comedy, horror co-written by Joss Whedon, who obviously was mucking around with us!?!
Your Sister's Sister - Jack (Mark Duplass) is grieving his brother, his best friend (Emily Blunt) let's him stay in the family cabin. But her sister (Rosemarie Dewitt) turns up, wounded from a broken relationship. And things get messy from there. It is a predictable story, with some strong acting from both women, who I admit I will see in anything, they are both charasmatic actresses. 
Boardwalk Empire S3
I've always enjoyed Gangster films, and BE empire is a brilliant depiction of the 20s in Atlantic City with prohibition and bribery and scandal and crime. Buscemi is charismatic and hypnotic as Nucky Thompson the kingpin of the town. I have always loved Buscemi and he is on fire in this role where he walks a fine line of utterly charming and menacing thug. Supported by an outstanding cast of character actors including Kelly McDonald, Gretchen Moll, Michael Shannon, Vincent Piazza, Jack Huston and Dabney Coleman. The set design is outstanding, with intricate attention to detail in the boardwalk, homes, cars, and costumes. Also a superb soundtrack that I must get my hands on. It is violent of course and this season the violence gets taken up a notch with the introduction of new guy, Rosseti played with malevolent force by the wonderful Bobby Cannavale. 
Rake S2
Richard Roxburgh is devilishly sexy as rogue barrister Cleaver Greene, even his name is delicious! With a crime of the week feel, but oh so much more. Based on supposed real life events, this is always tantalising and hilarious. Great Aussie tele...yeah maybe we aren't so bad after all! If you haven't seen Rake, then get moving...geez, what's wrong with you!?!

New Girl - this is good, not great, but it's getting there. I do love Zooey Deschanel, but she can be a little too twee in this! I gave up watching it on tele, but then saw she was dating the dreamy Dermot Mulroney, so I caught what I missed up on DVD, and enjoyed it a lot more. So give it a go, it's harmless and cute and this creepy world can do with some more cute I think!

I've been listening to Katie Noonan, sublime and The Rolling Stones, I bought Grrrr, which is an excellent compilation, I've really been getting in to it! I've always loved The Stones, had no choice growing up in my family, and lurve Keith more than words can say. But have always preferred the early, more obscure bluesy tracks. But the funky 70s tracks like Emotional Rescue and Waiting on a friend are just fabulous.
Check out this video for Emotional Rescue, hilarious!! If this doesn't make you groove and/or smile there is simply something wrong with you!!!

Ohhh, and Solid Gold anyone????????


Simon said...

Busy, busy! A packed month for sure.

Cathy said...

There's always something amazing to do in Newcastle, so why say no!

Russ said...

Great Month ...
Always a great read Cathy.

Cathy said...

Thanks was a great month :)