As 2013 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the year that was, the many riches and lessons learned and I thank God for the Arts and Culture throughout this somewhat turbulent and changeable twelve months. I have nominated this my Year of Art and Culture because it has been filled to the brim with exposure, attendance and deliciousness from a spectrum of events, people and performances that change history.
On January 6, my movie-going year began with ‘Hitchcock’ starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren at the Moonlight Cinema. At the end of January I went on a country yoga retreat, which included dinner at a wonderful Cafe in Mylor called Harvest. It is open in the daytime on Wednesday to Sunday and on the first Friday evening of each month serving great food and finewine, delivered with all the charm and character of the Adelaide Hills at its best.
Commonly known as ‘Mad March’ with all its Art & Cultural indulgence, the Adelaide Festival of Arts arrived, hot on the heels of the Fringe Festival and Womad. My first Festival delicacy was at the Festival Theatre with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s performance of the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 – A Space Odyssey. Watching the movie and experiencing the music ‘live’ proved to be a sensory extravaganza, transporting me straight back to the first time I saw this thought provoking movie in the 1970’s.
After watching an interview with Barry Gibb on 60 Minutes I was immediately inspired to book ticket for his Mythology concert at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in February. There were 10,000 people in the audience and it felt like he Barry was singing straight to me. It was an incredible night, paying homage to his brothers, Maurice, Robin and Andy and to Australia, the place his family called home as a boy.
The State Theatre Company’s contribution to Festival of Arts was The Kreutzer Sonata performed in the idyllic setting of State Theatre Company’s Scenic Workshop, which cradled the production like a glove.
The next addition to my year of Art & Cultural was at the Turner Exhibition at the South Australian Art Gallery, which nourished my senses and filled the inner cornices of my mind with images, perspective and an education of an the outstanding Visionary who changed the course of history.
The pomp and ceremony of the French Film Festival at the Palace Nova commenced at the end of March and provided a smorgasbord of appetizing movies, fit for a King, Queen and Royal Family.
Once ‘Mad March’ is over and the Clipsal has been dismantled, Adelaide traditionally winds down in preparation to hibernate during the cooler nights, warm autumn days and evenings that turning briskly into the cold, dark recesses of winter. This year proved otherwise, in my Year of Art & Culture there was an unceasing string of events that provided exception to the rule. At the beginning of April I went to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival Launch, which had me jumping for joy and anticipation, and immediately booking tickets for the mid June Festival that brings Adelaide out of its winter closet and into glitz and glamour in gigantic proportions.
To add to my year of Arts and Culture, I purchased a friend’s tickets for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) Masterclass Series and had the absolute pleasure of bearing witness to four exquisite concerts in the grandeur of the Adelaide Town Hall. The ASO commemorated its 40th Birthday Celebrations this year with a masterful rendition of Beethoven’s 5th, Ode to Joy, performed at the Festival Theatre to a highly appreciative audience.
In May I went to Melbourne to bathe in Monet’s Garden Exhibition at the Victorian National Gallery. To my surprise and delight, across the road at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) was hosting the Hollywood Costume Exhibition direct from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. This exhibition explored the role of costume design in cinema storytelling and revealed the collaborative dialogue that leads to the development of screen characters. It magnificently brought together iconic costumes from a century of filmmaking and featured clothes worn by many unforgettable characters from The Wizard of Oz (1939), Ben-Hur (1959), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Titanic (1997) and Casino Royale (2006).
I stayed at The Art Series – Blackman Hotel in Melbourne, which supported the Arts and Culture theme splendidly. Blackman’s artwork is present wherever you turn in the lobby, lifts and hallways, and even the bathroom walls are embedded with the artwork of this unique and gifted Australian Artist. There was a loop video of the history of Charles Blackman playing as I entered my room, serving to add to the richness of this magical experience.
Going to the Movies is generally high on my priority list and this year was no exception. The quality viewing was set with a number of outstanding features, including Les Miserables, Anna Karenina, Cirque du Soleil’s Worlds Away, Cloud Atlas, The Quartet, The Company You Keep and Rise of the Guardians. After discussing these movies with a few friends, it was brought to my attention that I gain particular insight when I enter the world of the movies. It became apparent that I have a gift in this area and I felt a sense of responsibility to pay it forward and share the gift, at which time my Blog, “A Little Movie Matter’ was created and my first post was published in April 2013…
“Hello World, I have loved movies ever since I was a little girl and went to see “Munsters Go Home’ at the now ‘non-existent’ Art Deco Glenelg Cinema Centre. The thing I remember most about that movie was how red all the characters tongues were, like they’d been sucking on red toffee apples before filming! From the comfort and safety of the cinema seat, I have experienced all kinds of emotions, from bursting with laughter, jumping with fright, tensing with anticipation and sobbing through tears of joy, sadness and grief. Movies have provided me with clarity, comfort, hope, insight, education, and illumination and have been a constant source of companionship and nourishment. As a way of paying back and paying it forward I will be watching and re-watching movies and sharing my insights with you. I will start with a couple of recent viewings and then venture into a few classics and take it where it leads. If you have a movie you would like to share or a request for review, please email me at email@example.com In celebration of the extraordinary gifts made possible through the magical medium of the big screen, let the movie viewing begin!”
I commenced writing one movie review each week and approached Indaily online newspaper at which point I joined the pool of reviewers of the ‘Arts and Culture’ section, reviewing film, theatre, books and music.
My heart skipped a beat when I heard that my childhood idol, who provided me with much solace and many hours of entertainment, magic and wonder as Mary Poppins and Maria from The Sound of Music was coming to Adelaide in May. An Evening with Julie Andrews topped the charts of my Year of Art and Culture with the absolute honour of being in the audience of a woman I’ve looked up to and who made more sense to me than anything else in my world as a child.
Another surprise package appeared in the form of Cavalia in November. I was incredibly impressed by the delicate nature of the allegiance of Man and Horse in this spectacular fusion of sound, movement, animal and artist. During the month before the opening of the show, each time I drive along Tapleys Hill Road, I observed, like an excited child, the progress of the show’s arrival from the bobcats preparing the land to the huge performance tents for this world-class event.
On a whim I decided to return to Melbourne to honour the craftsmanship and effort that went into the creation of another world-class theatrical bonanza in King Kong and decided to stay on for Christmas. My inner child was satiated once more at Carols by Candlelight in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Christmas Eve. I’ve watched the Carols on television many times and always loved the spectacle and splendor, yet nothing could have prepared me for the experience of being there in person. The colour, glamour, talent, angelic voices and lights all shine so much brighter in real life and the atmosphere is awesome. With such a wide range of people coming from different walks of life, age brackets and cultures, all sharing the evening together in peace and harmony was absolutely breathtaking.
2013 has been an enriching and culturally diverse year and I am very grateful for the opportunity to be present at so many world class and extraordinary events. I look forward to 2014 with excitement. I wonder what the theme for next year will be?
Thank you for following my posts this year. In a year that has presented many personal challenges, I have found the world of Arts and Culture an immense source of substance, comfort and beauty.
I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year and hope you make all your dreams come true in 2014.
© Patricia Herreen 2013