To be a Saint

 

 

Born, bred, it’s in the blood

Saints Jumper
Saints Jumper
Luna Park 2
Luna Park 2

Its tough love.

 

Tex Perkins sums it up perfectly here

http://www.saints.com.au/video/2015-08-31/unplugged-tex-perkins-full-song

 

So does Paul Dempseysaint

http://www.triplem.com.au/melbourne/sport/afl/news/2015/8/paul-dempsey-covers-st-kilda-saints-theme-song/

The Palais

scaffold
scaffold

Much loved local icon, the Palais Theatre is under threat! Local rocker and frontman of the Dark Horses, Tex Perkins has stepped up to its defence. Mysterious scaffolding has encased the mighty structure for some time now. Apparently this is not a renovation precaution, but is in place to prevent bits falling off and striking the general public, and theatre goers.

 

Luna Park
Luna Par

 

 

She is a much loved piece of the St Kilda landscape, and integral part of the Melbourne theatre, and performance scene. Concerts are regularly held there, and she continues to host local and international acts. Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones singer, referred to the Palais in his recent Melbourne Show saying they performed at the Palais in 1966 and urged fans to save the venue.

I have attended many memorable performances there. Annually the Sacred Heart mission’s, Heart of St Kilda Concert, to raise funds for the local homeless, Missy Higgins, Rockwiz tribute night to Vanda and Young, Birdy, and Boz Scaggs.

 

palais
palais

 

In 2010, I was privileged to win a ballot to tickets to a guided tour of the Palais, as part of the StKilda Festival. We got to go backstage, stand on the rolling stage, check out the dressing rooms, view the juliet window, site the projectionist room, and even climb up into the roof to inspect the domes, and building structure. A memorable tour, firmly etched in my memory, and probably not possible now, due to Health and Safety regulations. The craftsmanship, attention to detail and sheer beauty of the grand old dame, a fine example of art deco architecture, was breathtaking. It was also sad to see how much she had fallen into disrepair through neglect and lack of maintenance. Impossible to believe she was still exisitng at all, but she has a tenacious hold on StKilda, our hearts and minds, and is the venue of our dreams. She’s not going down without a fight, and the locals are just passionate enough to save her. Prepared to take on both the local and state governments they will fight for her survival. The infamous triangle site fiasco is brought to mind, where they repelled the attempts to build a Chadstone style complex, on the vacant land around the Palais Theatre, abutting Luna Park, and the St Kilda Foreshore

 

 

palais side
palais side

. A virulent battle between protestors, and developers, and local and state government ensued, which saw the protestors victorious, and the site remains vacant until a suitable compromise can be reached.The StKilda Pier Kiosk was burnt down, the StKilda Sea Vaults closed, St Moritz demolished, and it would appear the Astor Theatre is beyond redemption, but the Palais is hanging in there and we will save her, wrangling a truculent Local and State Government to assist.

As a visual artist, I have always found the old girl, aesthetically inspiring and have photographed, painted, and drawn her for many years. She is a big part of my local history, and I too will do whatever it takes to keep her standing. Too young to have seen the memorable 66′ Stones Concert within her hallowed walls, I remember a Dame Edna aka Barry Humphries, concert there of 30 years ago, where the grand old dame played host to the magenta haired, grand old Dame, and gladiolus, flew through the air in a floral frenzy.

The Palais will not go down without a fight, it will emerge from its encasing cocoon like a chrysalis,  and I expect to be along for its bumpy ride, to re-emergence.

Linden Postcard Show

I am an exhibiting artist in the “Linden Postcard Show”

postcard show
postcard show

. My mixed media work , entitled, “Luna Park “, was delivered today. I registered and paid the entry fee on line. Although reluctant to enter I was encouraged by a friend who has entered in the past and sold some work. Also as a visual artist I believe it is important to exhibit work , as part of the creation process.

Housed in a beautiful old Victorian mansion, down the quiet end of Acland st, St Kilda, Linden is an innovative gallery space showing ambitious, creative work .

The postcard show will be an eclectic collection of many diverse visual artists work, displayed together, all of uniform size, but of diverse theme and execution.

I,d better go and see how ” Luna Park ” fits in the space, and whether I sell it !

linden 2
linden 2

” Sit With Me “

sit with me
sit with me

I recently attended the “ Sit With Me ” exhibition at the Gallery , St Kilda Town Hall.

The work is made by inhabitants of the Queens Rd rooming house , a facility owned and run by the Sacred Heart Mission , to provide shelter for the marginalised in our society .

The work is varied , from sculpture and installation , to watercolour , sewn objects , photographs and sketches .

It uses the symbol of a chair in the work , and invites us to sit with the artist , and share their journey back to community , through the use of creative expression .

The work is powerful , beautifully executed , and indicative of how vital creative expression is to a healthy society.

Indigenous Art

Our group of VU visual arts students  have been covering the subject matter of indigenous art , for Culture and Context .

We have watched an informative 3 part series , made by the ABC , made and presented by Hetti Perkins , entitled  “Art and Soul “.

The aboriginal people are an incredibly talented , naturally intuitive race of mark makers .Their work embraces every aspect of their life and informs and sustains them . They are natural creators at all levels and their work is multi disciplinary .

Some of the work I loved included :

The textile artists , women dying their yarn and fabric with plants and abandoned machinery

The visual artists telling the story of our ” mob “with dot paintings

This work saddened me

The modern day love story of Samsom and Delilah , a film by Warwick Thornton , of challenges facing young indigenous people .

The Cape Baron descendants constructing shell necklaces from black shells . These are Truganini “s tears . Truganini is believed to be the last full blood Tasmanian aboriginal , whose race was subjected to genocide by the white settlers .

Their work is powerful , evocative and deeply moving .

And yes I am descended from the white settlers, who stole their land , forcibly evicted them , and attempted to destroy and desecrate their life , home and culture . Ironic really , as this prejudice , disrespect , starvation and cultural annihilation is exactly what my Irish forbears were fleeing from .

The aboriginal people are a strong , proud , resilient race and their work and life in art is be admired and revered . This was brought home when I attended the Sacred Heart Mission Concert at the Palais in StKilda recently . An aboriginal entertainer , actor , raconteur and musician named Jack Charles ,70 years old , 5 foot tall and a survivor of the stolen generation , took the stage , and held the audience in enraptured silence as he performed . We have much to be grateful for , that they let us share their country , culture , and creative gifts .

can
can

Gym

Spinning wheels , sweat soaked bodies , yelps of pain . I am at the gym . Early morning disciples of fitness , we stagger blindly towards the garishly lit beacon , on the suburban side street . A torturous procession of exercises awaits us . Grinding , relentless , painful , and methodical . We push our reluctant body through weaves , turns , runs , squats, and stretches . Its painful , its boring , its becomes instinctive . Our bodies baulk , stop , evade and refuse to co-operate always taking the easy way out like a naughty child . We persist , pushing , pulling , pummelling and following our exercises by route .

starjumps
starjumps

Early morning starts , car refusing to start , its dark , lonely , solitary , and daunting on the empty morning streets . We cajole our lacklustre frames , into some semblance of fitness . The grungy , down at heel exercise mecca in gritty inner city St Kilda , becomes the backdrop to our trials , tests , and triumphs . The desk jockeys become our early morning friends , the pumping music a mask to our ineptitude . Why do we persist ? Its an inane reaction to ageing , an antidote to poor health , and a promise of nirvana that lies waiting at the end of all our toil , that encourages us and binds us to the path of semi acceptable fitness .

St Kilda Vaults

tunnel 3
tunnel 3

 

 

tunnel stk
tunnel stk

orbs

 

Corrosive sulphur smell masks raggedy peeling paint of a cerulean blue shade . Dim , dark spaces , tunnelling back into cavernous curving arches . Two iridescent orbs shimmering against black , inky , fetid air . Sea stench ,  chemical car exhaust , rotting vegetation , ancient dust ,  ground up insect carcasses , and embedded paint textures . Where am I ? Incarcerated in the St Kilda Vaults . Rust , dust and sea must , I am in a subterranean vault , below bitumen , juxtaposed between the upper and lower esplanades , of St Kilda . A boarded up retail space , sacrificed f0r the sweeping expansion of the bitumen tentacles of a spinning roadway .

Open House Melbourne

Open House is on the last weekend of July in Melbourne . A day for public and private buildings of significance and interest , to throw their doors open  to all .

A visit to the Mission to Seafarers , Australian Tapestry Workshop , and Malthouse theatre , whetted my appetite in 2012 .

Marvelling , I steeped into the portico of the squat , iconic Mission building in Flinders St . It was a building I had passed on a daily basis in transit to my city job . Its closeted chapel revealed  intricate stained glass windows depicting sea misadventures , and well polished wooden pews warmed by the bums of many seamen  .  In the silent sancturary of the Norla Dome , home to changing art exhibitions of marine themed works  ,  I felt the history of the building .

edgewater towers
edgewater towers

 

The bustling Australian Tapestry workshop  , housed in a unique 19th century white filigreed building , was a plethora of colour and action . Massive , striking , woven canvases were draped across enormous frames , as the weavers diligently performed their timeless craft . All manner of stories were being told in thread , from afl footy matches , to delicate indigenous themes .

Malthouse , the stark modern theatre buit on an industrial site of a working brewery , is home to Melbourne’s avant garde theatre . Rehearsal rooms , costumes , sets and theatre spaces were explored with some dexterity by the zealous guide . Forced to forgo a visit to the police horse stable as the queue  snaked around the corner and down the street , I remembered it had also been a daily backdrop to my working life .

In 2013 , I want to visit the grotesque edgewater towers in St Kilda , Melbourne’ s first high rise dwelling built in 1959 . The quirky , Cairo , art deco bachelor  apartments  in fitzroy, and the majestic , distressed ballroom , atop flinders st railway station . Conversely , I  have been fortunate enough to enter , via the stagedoor , the Palais de Danse theatre in St Kilda . I too have danced on the rollingstage , crept  up into the roof space and peered out from the juliet balconies.

Hi Rise StKilda 1959
Hi Rise StKilda 1959

How successful is Open House Melbourne ?  I regularly attend the gallery space at the Mission to Seafarers ,  have attended a woodcut printing workshop at the tapestry workshop , and enjoyed several performances at the Malthouse Theatre . Fingers crossed that I win the ballot , and get the chance to peek inside the compelling , ruined splendour of  the Railway Ballroom  , this year .