MonthJune 2021

Stronger than Fiction – Set!

Sunday 4 July 2021 at 2pm
Dendy Canberra Centre
Free child care available – see below

This third film in Stronger Than Fiction’s 2021 Series, from the US, takes a deep dive into the wacky and wildly entertaining world of competitive table setting. 

Barbie speaks with Stronger Than Fiction’s Deborah Kingsland about Set
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Burlesque Brunch

25 July 2021, from 11am to 1pm
Flazéda Hub in Belconnen

Flazéda Hub (the brainchild of Canberra powerhouse performance artist, Jazida) presents a high tea brunch, a collaborative effort of the alternate performing arts hub with local catering business Capital Roast, and interstate performer Diesel Darling (Winner – Miss Burlesque NSW 2020).

Burlesque Brunch boasts multiple tiers of high tea menu inclusions from Capital Roast, paired with customised drinks options (including a range of alcohol-free cocktails) curated by the studio’s resident bartender, all accompanied by burlesque entertainment from Diesel Darling and Jazida.


Expressions of interest open for LGBTQIA+ performing arts scholarships

Apply by 5pm Monday 24 June 2021

Flazéda presents a LGBTQIA+ Mentorship Program, supported by the ACT Government and designed to allow LGBTQIA+ people to have equal access to opportunities to develop new performing art work in a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment. It is particularly for people who identify as non-binary or transgender.

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Percy Vs. Goliath – film review

Biographical drama
Canada, 2020, Rated PG
Directed by Clark Johnson
Palace Electric Cinema, Canberra

This film is based on the true story of an independent canola farmer’s six-year crusade against global corporate monolith, Monsanto. Accused of growing the company’s genetically modified organisms (GMOs) without a licence and forced to risk losing his land, 67-year-old Percy Schmeiser (Christopher Walken) takes his fight all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court.

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Artists Shed – Namatjira Family and Hermansberg

1-3/88 Wollongong Street, Fyshwick ACT
19 June to 13 July 2021

Albert Namatjira’s family embraced their father’s painting style, and the Hermansberg School of Art was adopted by other notable Indigenous artists.

The works in this exhibition have been saved and reframed by the Artists Shed as important and appreciated works.

Official opening 6pm Friday 18 June 2021. To attend contact 0418 237 766

Canberra Brass – Windows of the World

Special guests Canberra Chordsmen
St Mary McKillop College Canberra
Mc Kinnon Crescent Wanniassa
Friday 18 June 2021 at 7.30pm

In this time when overseas travel is not possible, Canberra Brass invites you to journey with the band and experience music from around the world. The concert will also feature special guests, Canberra à cappella chorus, the Canberra Chordsmen.

Veronica Boulton from Canberra Brass talks about the concert
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Christine Sykes – Gough and Me: My Journey from Cabramatta to China and Beyond

Ventura Press, Australia, 2021

Christine Sykes’ memoir will strike a chord with many baby boomers, not just because of the Whitlam connection but because of her experience growing up in an age of change and reform.

Barbie spoke with Christine Sykes about Gough and Me
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Deliver us from Evil – Film Review

South Korea, 2020
In Korean, Japanese, Thai and English with English subtitles
Written and directed by HONG Won Chan
Rated MA15+
In cinemas from 10 June 2021

This film will appeal to fans of the Asian gangster movie genre. It is action from start to finish, very violent, but with an overarching moral about caring for children and their welfare.

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Domenic Mico – In the Shadow of Light

Domenic Mico – In the Shadow of Light
Kyeema Gallery at Capital Wines
13 Gladstone Street, Hall, ACT

Thursday to Monday 10.30am to 5pm
Until 27 June 2021

Canberra arts mover and shaker Domenic Mico has found time in retirement to paint. He has held successful exhibitions from 2018  – at FORM Gallery Queanbeyan and at M16.

The collection of large, brilliantly coloured oil paintings in this body of work are abstract expressions of joy and celebration. Carrying titles merely suggestive of their subject matter, they are in fact an open book for the imagination.

Domenic Mico spoke to Barbie at Kyeema Gallery
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Complex Weavers of Australia – Cartography of Cloth

Strathnairn, 90 Stockdill Drive Holt ACT
Until 27 June 2021

Cartography of Cloth is the first Australian Complex Weavers members-only exhibition and has been four years in the making. It is a judged exhibition, and what a stunning display of weaving artistry it is. Each piece is a clear demonstration not only of consummate skill but of the love of making by each artisan.

Exhibiting artist Belinda Rosee talks about the exhibition
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Musica Viva – Nicolas Fleury, Emily Sun & Amir Farid

Streaming at 7pm 26 June 2021
Live Canberra concert cancelled due to COVID travel restrictions

This concert features a world premiere of a sonata by Gordon Kerry, as well as works by Mozart and Brahms.


  • MOZART – Trio for Piano, Violin and Horn (arr. Naumann), K407 (1782)
  • KERRY  – Sonata for Violin and Piano (2020) – commissioned for Musica Viva by Julian Burnside AO QC – world premiere performances
  • BRAHMS –  Horn Trio in E-flat, Op. 40 (1865).



Nicolas Fleury  – Horn (appears courtesy of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)
Emily Sun  – Violin
Amir Farid  – Piano

Johannes Brahms’ 1865 horn trio was composed in memory of his mother, and brought together an interesting combination of instruments. No doubt inspired by this piece, in 1910 the composer Ernst Naumann made an imaginative arrangement of Mozart’s Horn Quintet for the same line-up.

Playing both works on the same program is demanding for a horn player. Nicolas Fleury has lived in Australia since 2019. He studied in his native France, undertook postgraduate tuition in London, and spent a decade as a soloist and Principal with orchestras throughout the world.

Image of Nicholas Fleury supplied by Musica Viva

Pamela Hart – Digging up Dirt

HQ Fiction, an imprint of Harlequin, a subsidiary of Harper Collins Australia, 2021

Let’s get this clear straight away – I loved this book. It’s a delicious piece of contemporary cosy crime, well written, full of relatable characters and social issues, all rendered with a delightfully light touch.

Barbie spoke to Pamela Hart about Digging Up Dirt

The book falls into the category of the ordinary Joe or Jane prompted to investigate a crime due to a personal connection. In this case, our heroine is Poppy McGowan, researcher for ABC children’s education section. She’s staying with her very nice Mum and Dad during renovations to her little historic cottage, when the builder unearths a set of bones.

Work is interrupted so that the nature of the bones and their historic significance can be assessed. Sadly, an ex-colleague, Dr Julieanne Weaver, with whom Poppy has had a chequered relationship, turns up to do the investigation. Not long after that, said colleague also turns up dead in the excavations – not until after she has organised for the local council to execute a stay order on Poppy’s building work, despite the bones turning out to be from sheep and other livestock and not particularly special although quite old.

Hence, the motivation for Poppy’s investigations to clear her name when she is dubbed suspect number one.

What follows is a twisting tale delving into right wing religious groups and the mirky mire of politics. Poppy proves to be not only intelligent, feisty and fearless, but a dogged investigator, though one who mostly defers to the investigating police, under the leadership of the redoubtable Detective Chloe. She also demonstrates her prodigious people skills – we understand her to be a person who treats others with respect and hence is a loved friend, family member and colleague – all very refreshing in the world of crime fiction.

The book is also laced with witty humour. Its supporting cast are well observed, roundly drawn and always recognisable. We do know people like the stalwart, laconic Terry and Dave, her newshound cameramen buddies. We also know builders like the wonderful Boris (am a bit in love with this character), boyfriend types like Stuart and certainly local Councillors like Cardigan Man. Pamela Hart writes her people so that we can like or loathe them, but there is often still compassion for the badduns, even those we are glad to see get their comeuppance.

Digging up Dirt is definitely a ripping yarn with a contemporary bent. We can get our teeth into the social issues addressed, but we can also just enjoy this as a crime romp. Justice is served, as we expect it to be and goodness wins the day. There’s even a dash of romance, but not mindless abandon – our likeable heroine is not all head, but then not all heart either.

Such a pleasure to learn that Poppy and some of her compatriots will ride on into a series of books. The next cannot come soon enough for me.

Thank you to Harper Collins for the review copy and to Pamela Hart for such an informative and pleasant conversation about the book and other important things.

Minamata – Film Review

Palace Electric Canberra from 3 June 2021
2020, 115 minutes
Rated MA15+
Directed by Andrew Levitas

This moving film, based on real events and people, opens with a mother bathing her seriously deformed daughter.

It then takes us to 1971 New York, where, following his days as one of the most revered photojournalists of World War II, W. Eugene Smith (Johnny Depp) had become a recluse, disconnected from society and his career. But a commission from Life magazine editor Robert Hayes (Bill Nighy) sends him to the fishing village of Minamata, Japan, ravaged by mercury poisoning caused by decades of gross industrial negligence by the country’s Chisso Corporation.

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Lydia Williams and Lucinda Gifford – Goal!!!

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

Lucinda Gifford is a children’s book author and illustrator based in Melbourne Australia, who also spends a lot of her time drawing in front of an audience.

Lydia Williams is an Indigenous Australian soccer player, goal keeper for the Australian Matildas and for Arsenal in the UK. She  spent her early childhood  in outback Australia, then moved to the city with her family.

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Melanie Tait – The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race

An Ensemble Theatre production
Canberra Playhouse Theatre
3 to 5 June 2021
Approximately 90 minutes, no interval, not suitable for children

Inspired by an experience in 2018, Melanie Tait has scripted The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race, a funny, honest and heart-warming story about upsetting the status quo and standing up for your principles.

Melanie Tait talks about The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race
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