National Capital Orchestra – Fate

3pm, Sunday 16 May 2021
The Q, Queanbeyan

In a celebration of Beethoven’s 251st birthday, after his 250th party was sadly cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, Maestro Louis Sharpe makes his conducting debut with the NCO as it performs the thunderous Symphony No 5 in C minor.

The program opens with the Overture from The Magic Flute by Mozart.

Also featured will be the atmospheric The Blue Mountains by renowned Canberra composer Sally Greenaway, in an arrangement made especially for the NCO. This work portrays the vista of the stunning  Blue Mountains with their dramatic valleys and rock formations seen from an aerial perspective.

The soloist, Canberra cellist James Monro, will perform Kol Nidrei, a soulful work for cello and orchestra by Max Bruch, based on two traditional Hebrew melodies.


Sutton Village Gallery – official opening

51 Camp Street Sutton NSW
2pm Saturday 8 May 2021
Some of the exhibiting artists will be in attendance

All are welcome to the official opening of Sutton Village Gallery with its first exhibition of 22 artists, working in a variety of mediums including painting,  printmaking, drawing, ceramics, glass, photography & sculpture. 

The gallery will feature a new artist every 4-6 weeks on the main wall. The first is Canberra-based printmaker, Sally Dunbar. (

Sutton Village Gallery is committed to promoting Australian artists, especially its regional artists, makers & designers.  Most artists are local. Workshops with local artists are in the planning stages. 

Belconnen Artists Network: Luminosity

A group exhibition at Strathnairn Arts
96 Stockdill Drive Holt ACT
Until 30 May 2021
Open Thursday to Sunday 10am to 4pm
Opening 5.30pm Thursday 6 May 2021 – RSVP [email protected]

This diverse collection is testament to the collegial strength of the Belconnen Artists Network (BEAN), a group of artists who support each other’s practice with regular meetings and an annual exhibition. Mediums in this year’s iteration include painting, photomedia, and textile art.

Barbie spoke to one of the BEAN artists, Margaret Kalms
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Kaneana May – All we have is now

Harper Collins, Australia, 2021

In this, her second novel, Kaneana May brings us a story of family. Most families will experience times of loss, grief, sadness, dispute, misunderstanding, failures of communication and petty bickering. But amidst it all there is usually love. And indeed, this is what we see in the lives of the three women at the centre of this epic tale.

Kaneana May talks about All we have is now
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Emma Bowd and Tania McCartney – Wonderful Shoes

Windy Hollow Books, Australia 2021

Emma Bowd’s lilting rhymes and Tania McCartney’s jaunty images marry beautifully in this new toddler book.

Who cannot remember their children or grandchildren clomping about in the grown-ups’ shoes? Of perhaps young parents will recall doing this themselves. And this is where the book positions itself, not just with its story of all the wonderful and varied shoes in a normal life, but in the visual perspective of a child, who of course often sees the world by looking up.

Barbie spoke to Emma Bowd and Tania McCartney about Wonderful Shoes
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Twist – film review

Britain, 2021
Showing in Canberra at Hoyts and Limelight
Directed by Martin Owen

With Sir Michael Caine in the role of Fagin, this modern take on Dickens’ Oliver Twist already had my ears pricked up. And indeed when he comes on screen with that characteristic voice, he is always a pleasure to watch.

This ‘adaptation’ is more of a rewrite. It sees an orphaned Twist with an artistic mother, from whom he receives an art education and probably his talent, grow into a free-running spray paint artist who falls foul of the law and is rescued by Fagin’s band of thieves.

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Mike Lucas and Daron Parton – Let’s Build a House

Cover and internal design: Ingrid Kwong
Lothian Children’s Books, Hachette Australia, 2021

Mike Lucas first started writing silly poems quite a while back to amuse his children. After a time this morphed into writing picture books, many of them full of fun but others also touching on major environmental themes (Vanishing, Midnight Sun, 2018) and love and friendship (Olivia’s Voice, Midnight Sun, 2017).

New Zealand based illustrator Daron Parton has been working as an illustrator since 1990 and is also an illustration tutor at Auckland University of Technology. Daron’s books include The Ultimate Survival Guide to Monsters Under Your Bed and A Crocodile in the Family.

Barbie spoke with Mike Lucas about Let’s Build a House
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Signed Dali etchings to go on display at The Artists Shed

The Artist and the Historian
Film, Dali, the Gallipoli Prize and Lake Light sculpture
Dali dry point etchings on exhibition at The Artists Shed from 15 May 2021

Margaret Hadfield and Kathryn Spurling work in a creative partnership dubbed The Artist and the Historian. The vast space of The Artists Shed in Wollongong Street Fyshwick is home to classes, exhibitions, events and Artistic Vision Gallery, an enterprise founded by the pair to find and rescue abandoned original Australian art.

Barbie talks with Margaret Hadfield and Kathryn Spurling
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Peter Rodgers – Life, Death and Other Distractions

Ginninderra Press, Australia, 2021

With his previous book Beethoven’s Tenth (self published, 2021), Peter Rodgers has proved himself to be both an astute observer of human nature and contemporary society and a highly skilled and entertaining writer.

This second publication for 2021 reveals the same keen eye and an often wry view of the world around him, but also a practised hand in the art of short story writing. The medium requires discipline in self-editing, precision in the choice of vocabulary and the capacity to quickly and deftly build character.

Peter Rodgers talks about Life, Death and other Distractions
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Judy Rafferty – Inside the Room

Ginninderra Press, Australia, 2020

In her professional life as a counselling psychologist, Judy Rafferty spends a lot of time listening to people. Some of the poetry in this collection is the result of hearing stories from people who needed to share them, to unburden their feelings by talking. The author unburdens hers by writing.

Barbie talks to Judy Rafferty about Inside the Room
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Lost in Transit

Tuggeranong Arts Centre
29 and 30 April and 1 May 2021 at 7.30pm
Produced by Kat Reed
Musical Direction by Dianna Nixon

Created and performed by transgender and gender diverse people, this musical theatre production tells the story of Hunter, a postman tasked with the delivery of a mysterious parcel to an unusual apartment block. The people he meets there help him on a journey of self-discovery.

Barbie spoke with Lost in Transit producer, Kat Reed
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Carole Osmotherly – Paintings on Silk

28 April to 16 May 2021
Humble House Gallery
93 Wollongong Street, Fyshwick
Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm

Meet the artist session 1 May from 12 noon to 3pm

Many artists are responding this year to a deep sense of sadness over the loss of so many trees during the bushfire storms of 2019-20. Trees in their many forms appear in a number of exhibitions I have visited this year, depicting both sorrow over the destruction and death and joy and wonder at the regrowth and fecundity.

Barbie speaks to Carole Osmotherly about the exhibition
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Chris Slotemaker de Bruine – Brilliant Landscapes with a difference

Kyeema Gallery, 13 Gladstone Street, Hall ACT
Until 24 May 2021
Open Thursday to Monday 11.30am to 5pm

It will not be surprising to visitors to Chris Slotemaker de Bruine’s exhibition at Kyeema Gallery that he was the founder of Canberra’s Floriade. His work expresses his regard for Nature and his keen observation of its detail, colour and variety.

Chris Slotemaker de Bruine talks about his exhibition
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Damian Balassone – Strange Game in a Strange Land

Wilkinson Publishing, Melbourne, Australia, 2019

It may seem strange to some regular readers of poetry that AFL footy has found a place in the genre. However, to my mind, the job of the poet is to distil experiences, observations and thoughts to an economical form – and what the subject matter may be is of less importance than the communication itself.

Barbie talks to Damian Balassone about Strange Game in a Strange Land
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