CategoryAudio interviews

Denotes website entries with audio interviews

Catherine McCullagh – Secrets and Showgirls

Big Sky Publishing, Australia, 2021

Catherine McCullagh’s fictionalised history joins a swathe of current works about the WW2 European experience under the Nazis. Whilst set in a Paris cabaret, Le Prix d’Amour, it interests itself largely with how the ‘normal citizen’ coped with the many privations and difficulties of Vichy France, at the time of the German Occupation and then under its total control.

Barbie talks to Catherine McCullagh about Secrets and Showgirls
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GOLD 10th anniversary dance performances

Saturday 19 June 2021, 2.00-4.00pm at the National Portrait Gallery
Saturday 7 August 2021, 2.00-3.30 pm at Belconnen Arts Centre
Wednesday 18 August 2021, 2.00-3.30 pm Tuggeranong Arts Centre 
Wednesday 1 September 2021, 2.00-3.30 pm at COTA Hall, Hughes Community Centre

The GOLDs are a Canberra Dance Theatre dance class and performance group for movers and non-movers who are over 55. The focus is on fitness, mobility, sociability and creativity.

To celebrate their 10th anniverary, the GOLD dancers will be performing at a number of venues in Canberra to promote the benefits of dance for seniors. GOLD actively challenges stereotypes of older people and espouses the philosophy that dance is not just for the young!

Barbie talks to dancer Penny Richards and artistic director of Canberra Dance Theatre, Jacqui Simmonds

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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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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East Meets West Orchestral Evening

Conducted by Guy Noble
Llewellyn Hall, ANU School of Music
Saturday 26 June at 7.30pm

East Meets West Orchestral Evening is an opportunity to hear Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto and Yellow River Piano Concerto, two hugely popular Chinese classics, rarely performed live on Australian stages. The Canberra Symphony Orchestra joins the touring musicians for this performance.

Barbie spoke to Guy Noble about East Meets West
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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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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.

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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Potted Potter – The Unauthorized Harry Experience: A Parody by Dan and Jeff

All Seven Harry Potter Books in Seventy Hilarious Minutes
Canberra Playhouse
13 to 18 July 2021 Tues to Fri 7pm; Sat 4pm & 7pm; Sun 1pm & 4pm

Premiering 15 years ago at the Edinburgh Fringe, Potted Potter was an immediate smash hit. It’s a romp through J.K. Rowling’s back catalogue.

Barbie spoke with Potted Potter actor Tama Jarman
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The Song Company – Burden of Truth

Albert Hall, Canberra
Thursday 10 June 2021 at 7pm

Fifty years ago, English composer Gavin Bryars was struck by a tape loop of a homeless person singing a fragment of a hymn tune. He added harmonies and instruments and created Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet – a hypnotic piece that has since gained a cult following around the world.

Barbie spoke with The Song Company’s Artistic Director, Antony Pitts
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Andrew Vukosav – Longitude, Latitude, Solitude +

Humble House Gallery, Fyshwick ACT
June 2 – 27 2021
Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm

Andrew Vukosav’s sublime aerial images of the Australian landscape would improve any public building or corporate foyer. They are large works appropriate to the vast country they capture.

Shot from his single-engine Cessna 182, using a professional digital camera mounted over an inspection port, the photographs are mostly of pristine, if not untouched, places in Western Australia and South Australia. The images are inland and coastal, though his preference is for inland.

Andrew Vuikosav talks to Barbie at Humble House Gallery about Longitude, Latitude, Solitude +
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BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival Monthly Podcasts

Hosted by authors Suzanne Leal and Andy Muir

All about Crime podcasts will examine the hot topics and themes in crime fiction – true crime, psychological thrillers, domestic crime, spy thrillers, police procedurals and more with crime writers and readers, both Australian and international.  

Suzanne Leal talks about the new BAD All About Crime podcast, an initiative of BAD Sydney Writers Festival
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Felicity Green and Colin Grant – Illuminations

M16 Artspace Canberra
Until 6 June 2021
Open Wednesday to Sunday 12pm to 5pm

The marriage of Colin Grant’s dreamlike figures (mostly women) and Felicity Green’s almost hyper-real forestscapes may seem unlikely, but in fact the works sit very comfortably with one another. Both bodies of work simultaneously occupy a real and an imagined space, one in which light is the dominant element.

Barbie spoke with Colin Grant and Felicity Green about Illuminations
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Canberra PhotoConnect – Connections

M16 until 6 June
Wednesday to Sunday 12 to 5pm

PhotoConnect is a collaborative photography association which aims to encourage connections between photographers and other artists and the community at large. It is a membership organisation open to all artists regardless of medium, experience and skill level.

Barbie discusses the exhibition with coordinator, Helen McFadden
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