Exxopolis by Architects of Air

Yesterday we took the kids in to see Exxopolis, a giant inflatable scupture sitting out the front of the Sydney Opera House. The first photo is one I took on Tuesday while walking down for the Matmos gig. The rest from yesterday. You can see there's a really odd light inside, that's sunlight coming through the plastic.

It's an amazing artwork and must have enormous amounts of clever thinking and engineering behind it. The kids loved running around and exploring it, getting us "lost" inside.

Afterwards we had pizza overlooking the harbour. Lovely afternoon and evening out and the kids had a ball. We're very lucky to have this kind of amazing stuff happening in Summer.

Sydney Festival 2014

It's January in Sydney which means Sydney Festival time. That's when Sydney's centre is transformed for a pretty damn awesome art and culture festival. There's always a stack of awesome gigs, plus free stuff too.

Last night we went to see Bonobo, though not part of the festival. Loads of fun and it's always amazing to see gigs in the Opera House's Concert Hall. One of the great spaces for music.

Next week I'm off to see:

  • Matmos, an experimental electronic band I've followed for years. They did an album inspired by (and using) the sounds of plastic surgery.
  • Hurricane Transcriptions/Laborintus II: Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth has a piece composed after Hurricane Sandy, then Mike Patton tackles a piece by experimental composer Luciano Berio. Patton just gets more and more interesting, and weird, as he continues. Loving his stuff!

Hopefully we'll get a chance to take the kids for a bounce on Stonehenge too.

Shred the week

Time-Killing ‘Chrono Shredder’ is a Day-Dicing Wall Calender

Wall clock, calender and mortality reminder all wrapped up in one odd work of (post)modern art. The so-called ‘Chrono Shredder’ provides a palpable (or pulp-able?) physical reminder that all things are temporary, and we can never wind back time in this world.

I love wacky conceptual art like this. If the shredder were suitably quiet, I reckon I'd have one of these in my house!

Where can I get Hogarth prints?

Gin
Street, William HogarthBeer
Street, William Hogarth

I've always loved Hogarth's Gin Lane and Beer Street engravings. The post-industrialized world's first moral panic was due to the flood of cheap spirits, coupled with a bored and concentrated population. "Drunk for a penny, dead drunk for twopence" was the slogan of the gin palaces. Hogarth contrasted the debauched Gin Lane with the prosperous and healthy Beer Street, where the pawnbroker is out of business, the populace engaged in edifying pursuits. Kinda like the current vogue for talking about "binge drinking".

I've always wanted to buy some prints of these classic campaigning engravings. Periodically I look online and I invariably find "Gin Lane" but rarely "Beer Street" in the same format from the same vendor. Anyone got any suggestions to get this?

Alternative would be to print these public domain versions taken from Wikimedia Commons. Not sure the resolution is good enough though. I used to live around the corner from Hogarth's House and never made it there. I bet they would sell prints!

Springtime for Hitler

Went to see The Producers last night with Dad, Holly and Rachel. What a fantastic musical, best I've seen in years. Absolutely hysterical. Couldn't recommend it more.

Highlight: the scene with dancing sparkly Nazis in a swastika pattern.

Jerry Springer: The Opera

Does it mean we're getting old to say we stayed in Saturday evening to watch opera on the telly?

Of course it wasn't just any opera but Jerry Springer: The Opera. I never thought I'd see an opera with the line "three-nippled cousin fucker" sung.

Of course the wowsers are getting into a froth about it without having seen it as usual. But it was brilliant, a real poke in the eye of staid, dull highbrow art.

I think I want to see the live version now...

Guantanamo Baywatch

Just went and saw Guantanamo Baywatch, one of the trilogy by the same writer as The Madness of George Dubya. That hysterical counted as the funniest live comedy I've ever seen.

Baywatch was good too, though sadly with a very small audience and loads of empty seats. Hilariously funny but with biting social commentary. It was certainly better than the dreary political "comedy" Stuff Happens on down at the National.

As with Dubya, the script seems to be updated day-to-day to match events. This had an Arafat gag, as well as digs at Abu Gharaib. The Rummy's Revue scene was just classic. Oh and if you saw Dubya, you'll be happy to know that Yasmina the Cleaner (a very nice girl) is also in this one.