MonthNovember 2020

Belinda Alexandra – The Divine Feline

(A Chic Lady’s Guide to Woman’s Best Friend)
Murdoch Books, Australia, 2020

This is a book that has enjoyed sumptuous production treatment with its striking fashion illustration style hard cover and velvety velour spine with cursive gold font. It is indeed an object of desire and worthy of its subject, the mystique of the cat.

Belinda Alexander talks about The Devine Feline
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Music for Canberra – A Musical Celebration

Llewellyn Hall, ANU School of Music
From 1.30pm Saturday 5 December 2020

Tickets: https://musicforcanberra.org.au/whats-on/

In a COVID year full of challenges, Music for Canberra is delighted to be performing for face to face audience at its end of year musical celebration.

With concerts from young and talented String Stream Ensembles, James McCusker Orchestra and the Canberra Youth Orchestra these day and night performances will be jam packed full of music from MFC Concerto Competition winners and small ensembles, with piano accordion player Anton Wurzer and diverse repertoire including Vaughan Williams, Vieuxtemps, and Tchaikovsky.

  • String Stream Ensembles: 1.30 to 3.30pm
  • James McCusker Orchestra: 4.30- 6pm
  • Canberra Youth Orchestra: 7.30-9.30pm

Blanche d’Alpuget – The Cubs Roar

Ventura Press, Australia,  2020

This is the fifth of Blanche d’Alpuget’s Birth of the Plantagenets series and I confess that I come to it as a stand alone novel, not having yet read the four previous books. However, while reading the entire series is ideal and recommended, it is perfectly possible to enjoy this one alone.

Barbie talks to Blanche d”Alpuget about The Cubs Roar
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Joanna Nell – The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home

Hachette, Australia, 2020

This is the third of Joanna Nell’s novels, each of which explores aspects of ageing and particularly ageing for women. Jo writes with gentle humour, with compassion and respect, but never shirks from addressing the tough matter of this subject.

Barbie taoks to Joanna Nell about The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home
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Adaptation – Canberra Glassworks

In collaboration with Suki & Hugh Gallery
25 November – 20 December 2020 
Opening and Christmas launch 25 November, 4pm to 8pm

The events of 2020 have highlighted the need for collaboration and supporting each other as a community.  Hence this collaboration on the exhibition Adaptation.

Barbie interviewed some of the artists from Adaptation at the exhibition opening.

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Kylie Fogarty – In The Vines

Barton Estate Wines
2307 Barton Hwy, Murrumbateman NSW 2582
Part of the DESIGN Canberra festival
Until 29 November 2020
10am – 5pm weekends, weekdays by appointment
Meet the artist 1pm 29 November

Kylie Fogarty has been artist in residence at Barton Estate for the past seven years.

She has now created an exhibition paintings and drawings, responding to her experiences and exploring the elements which have impacted the wines during this time – heat, rain, hail, and more recently, fire and smoke.

Kylie Fogarty talks about In the Vines on site at Barton Estate Wines

The exhibition pays homage to the landscape around Barton Estate Wines, and is a tribute to the process of viticulture.

Pub Rock – National Portrait Gallery

Until 14 February 2021
Free, but sessions bookings required under COVID rules
https://www.portrait.gov.au/

Pub Rock celebrates the people, places, scenes and sounds defining 1970s and 1980s Australia. Drawn primarily from the Gallery’s collection and enriched with works by leading Australian music photographers including Tony Mott and Wendy McDougall, Pub Rock  features staged portraits and publicity shots alongside images captured during unguarded moments and the grungy energy of live performances.

Exhibition curator Joanna Gilmour takes Barbie on a tour of Pub Rock
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Artist Society of Canberra Annual Exhibition

The Fitters Workshop, Kingston
Tuesday 17 to Sunday 22 November 2020
Public invited to view the works and vote for the People’s Choice

There are 290 works are on display at this year’s exhibition, an amazing feat in COVID times and a mighty job of installation for Vice-President Angharad Dean and her team. The number and calibre of works must also have made it hard work for the judges.

Angharad Dean talks about the Artist Society of Canberra’s annual exhibition
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Marilyn Chalkley – Swifty the Greyhound (Where is my Pie?)

Illustrated by Jane Ostler
Brogo Books Australia, 2020
https://www.brogobooks.com/

This charming tale of a recue greyhound recounts the (mostly) true story of the author’s adoption of her dog Swifty through Greyhound Connections, a voluntary Canberra based organisation that rehomes former racing greyhounds.

Barbie speaks with Marilyn Chalkley about Swifty the Greyhound
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Fleur McDonald – The Shearer’s Wife

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2020

The Shearer’s Wife is the 16th and latest of Fleur McDonald’s best-selling rural suspense novels. It is set in small town regional South Australia and with a rich cast of characters, some of whom carry over from previous books. For new readers, no previous reading is required to immediately feel familiarity with the Barker community.

Fleur McDonald talks to Barbie about The Shearer’s Wife
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Miss Juneteenth – Film Review

Drama, in English
1 hour 43 minutes

Limited cinema release, available on streaming services

The film premiered at Sundance in January 2020, and was released via video on demand on 19 June, 2020 to mark the 155th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Texas, from which the film derives its title.

Miss Juneteenth follows a single mother and former Miss Juneteeth, Turquoise Jones, preparing her daughter Kai for the same beauty pageant years later.

Kai clearly has other interests, but Turquoise seems determined to live out her own unfulfilled dreams through her daughter. While other former Miss Juneteenth winners have gone on to have successful careers Turquoise’s education was derailed by the birth of Kai, which forced her to drop out of college and for a time work as a stripper.

She makes many sacrifices to make sure her daughter succeeds, including the purchase of a very expensive dress, which in the end she cannot afford.

The competition, while yet another disappointment itself, allows epiphanies in several quarters for both Turquoise and Kai.

While there is not a lot of visible emancipation in the society depicted in this film, it nevertheless explores aspects of female empowerment. Amidst the grim social justice questions raised by the film there is a bright note when we realise that the film is carried largely by black female actors – the medium itself becoming the message, as it were.

The coming of age theme works well for the Kai character, but equally for Turquoise who see a light all her own when she finally acknowledges that the Miss Juneteenth pageant is not the only route to success and that she can forge ahead without attaching herself to a man.

At times I found the dialogue difficult to understand – I am not sure if this was due to the small screen viewing or my own unaccustomed ear. While this did not prevent understanding of the plot or themes, it was a trifle irritating.

On the other hand, the denouement was deeply satisfying.

  • Writer/Director: Channing Godfrey Peoples
  • Producers: Toby Halbrooks, Tim Headington, Jeanie Igoe, James M. Johnston, Theresa Page, Neil Creque Williams
  • Nicole Beharie as Turquoise Jones
  • Kendrick Sampson as Ronnie
  • Alexis Chikaeze as Kai Jones

NAIDOC in the North

Belconnen Arts Centre
8 to 15 November 2020
Information and bookings: www.belcoarts.com.au/naidoc

An online and live celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture through story, song, art dance and ceremony.

A range of online performances from some of Canberra’s most accomplished Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists will be released online throughout the week from the Belco Arts website www.belcoarts.com.au/naidoc.

Barbie talks with Michele Grimston about NAIDOC in the North
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National Capital Orchestra resumes live rehearsals

Keep up to date at https://nationalcapitalorchestra.org.au/

When the orchestra last convened in March of this year, it was well into preparations for a concert in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, which included the composer’s famous 5th Symphony.

Barbie talks with the National Capital Orchestra’s Louis Sharpe
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ConneXion Big Band – live at the Harmonie German Club

Directed by Justin Buckingham
Featuring vocalists Neille Williams and Tony Haley and composers/arrangers Mike Dooley, Sally Greenaway and Bryan Hooley
12.30 to 3.30pm Sunday 22 November 2020

This is the first live event for the band in 2020 due to Covid shut downs and restrictions and hence a cause for celebration.

ConneXion Big Band is a long established Canberra-based community jazz band open to all comers who are of a suitable musical standard. 

Justin Buckingham, director of ConneXion Big Band

The band delivers a wide cross-section of big band era and popular music styles.  ConneXion also commissions and performs music written by Australian musicians, including local composers.

As COVID restrictions ease here, the Harmonie German Club has welcomed the opportunity to showcase the ConneXion repertoire by inviting the band to provide the musical backdrop to what looks to be a very enjoyable lunch out. 

  • Book at – https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/connexion-lunch-tickets-127073322729, or pay slightly more at the door
  • Restrictions – due to COVID-19 restrictions numbers are limited to 100, so an early booking is probably safer; no dancing permitted
  • Ticket prices – Concession $11.58; Adult $27.33; reserved table of 6 $132.28; lunch and show $64.06 per person
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Marion Schumacher – Seasons

Bungendore Fine Art
From 7 November 2020

Marion Schumacher’s exhibition depicts the beauty of the Australian bush – the trees, the rocks, the waterways. With affection and a keen eye for detail, Marion invites us to observe the preciousness of pristine natural places and to note not just the broad sweep of a view but to also see the finer aspects a closer inspection delivers.

Marion Schumacher walks around the exhibition with Barbie

Her subjects in this exhibition include coral reefs, waterfalls, the beach, boats and tree filled scenes, all capturing the particular qualities of light rendered by the changing seasons.

Marion has drawn and painted since childhood. After attending art colleges and privately run art schools, she freelanced as a sign writer before becoming a professional artist in her 20s. She recently became a partner in the Bungendore Fine Art Gallery.

Image: Marion Schumacher – Southern Tablelands View