MonthMay 2019

The German Film Festival

Palace Electric from 22 May to 9 June 2019

This year’s German Film Festival marks some significant events in German history and culture – the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and  the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus architectural movement.

A special event and the closing night are devoted to the work of Bertolt Brecht with Mack the Knife – Brecht’s Threepenny Film about the making of the film and the celebrated classic 1931 film The Threepenny Opera itself.

Listen to Barbie’s interview with festival director Bettina Kinski
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Yilga (Leap in Darug language)

Belconnen Community Centre Gallery
21 May to 7 June , Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm
Opening on 21 May at 5.30pm, all welcome

This is a collaborative exhibition of paintings, dance and song with Darug artist Emma Laverty and the Tiny Tumblers Dance Club and Dance Edge groups. It is a celebration of Reconciliation Week.

Listen to Barbie’s interview with Emma Laverty

YIlga represents the artist’s passion for sharing and learning of knowledge in the community to promote positive conversation and build understanding between all Australians.

Info at


Milton 21 to 23 June 2019
Bookings and information at

With the public release of this inaugural festival’s program ad some tickets selling out in 10 hours, it is time to get a wriggle on and book for sessions you’d like to attend. There is a full day early bird concession for the Saturday program if you want to get an excellent rate for 6 presentations of your choice.

Festival director Meredith Jaffé tells us that presenting writers were selected for their successful work and their capacity to be good story tellers for a live audience. They include well known names like Jane Caro, Natasha Lester, Candice Fox, Jaclyn Moriarty. and Leigh Hobbs.

Listen to Barbie’s interview with Meredith Jaffé
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Artsong Canberra – Songmakers Australia: Russian Lullaby

Wesley Music Centre
Sunday 19 May 2019 at 3pm

This recital presents the music of Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Kabalevsky and Shostakovich in a collection of nursery rhymes and lullabies. The mood will be both bright and dark, the full gamut of emotions being drawn from the Russian repertoire.

Barbie talks to Songmakers’ Christina Wilson

Vocal performances are by Merlyn Quaife, Christina Wilson and Andrew Goodwin, accompanied by pianist Andrea Katz, who is also the group’s director.

Tickets at or at the door. $35 full, $30 conc. Groups of 8 or more people $30 per person. Artsong members $25, full time students $15.


Mary-Rose MacColl – The True Story of Maddie Bright

Allen & Unwin Australia 2019

This is an achingly beautiful and sad story, a work of historical fiction, a tale that, as so often happens in this genre, weaves the past and present through family connections, secrets and lies. Told in two voices, one that of Maddie herself and the other of the omniscient author, the story held me instantly in thrall. The time frames are 1920s and 1990s, the places mainly London, Sydney and Brisbane. 

Barbie speaks with Mary-Rose MacColl
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Michael Duke – Arabana and the Ghan

Connor Court Publishing Queensland, 2019

Melbourne based writer and psychiatrist Dr Michael Duke has worked with Aboriginal people from the 1980s.

In researching for this book, he made a number of trips to Arabana country and recorded interviews with Arabana people about their experiences of the railway.  He also read extensively and has helpfully provided the reader with a list of references.

Michael Duke talks about his book Arabana and the Ghan
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Nigel Featherstone – Bodies of Men

Hachette Australia 2019

In moving into historical fiction, Nigel Featherstone has created a moving and sensitive work which, whilst set against a backdrop of war in Egypt in 1941, focusses most strongly on the nature and possibilities of love.

William Marsh and James Kelly, childhood friends, meet again unexpectedly minutes after disembarking in Egypt as soldiers. A stoush with the Italian army forces quick action and William is found wanting. Not long after this William is posted to the desert to supervise a stores depot and to train a group of raw soldiers. James goes AWOL. We follow their separate and entwining stories and those of a rich collection of supporting characters.

Nigel Featherstone talks about Bodies of Men
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Susan Banks and Thea Katauskas – On the Verge

ANCA Gallery until 19 May 2019
Information at

Local artists Susan Banks and Thea Katauskas urge you to explore what is often overlooked as we walk around our town. – to see the life of the nature strip; the plants above, and the working men, often below.

Listen to Barbie’s interview with Susan Banks and Thea Katauskas

‘It’s about the invisible energy and activity that maintains the life of our city, as well as the thriving nature that persists whilst being hemmed by roadways and built environments,’ says Katauskas. Now based in Washington DC, she is a 1996 graduate of the ANU’s Canberra School of Art and Design, and has held three successful solo shows of her unique take on the city’s suburban architecture.

Banks, a former scientist, teacher, and recent graduate of the same art school, has focused on the disrupted, upended nature strips; the diggings temporarily occupied by workers and the inconvenient diversions as people step past the barriers, witches’ hats and piles of rubble.

Susan Banks, 2018, After Salgardo