First Thunder Spoke (then, other voices)

A curious thing: we moved into our new digs in January, and suddenly summer’s swinging around again (interrupting spring — how rude!), yet we still haven’t had a housewarming. The year has been pulled out from under our feet. Also it’s hard to leave this library:

Marlinspike Library

We all have to leave the books alone now and then — and there are a bunch of things coming up I’ll even put pants on for.

This weekend, the Queensland Poetry Festival stirs up the Judith Wright Centre, with three days’ worth of poetry and spoken word over two stages. I’m joining Rob Morris to give voice to Ynes Sanz‘s poems (along with Ynes herself) at First Thunder Spoke: 10.30am, Saturday 24 August.

Then, on Sunday, I’m playing a little trumpet at Lady Marlene‘s wonderful cabaret burlesque (Disney-themed, this time!) at The Loft:

Finally, I’m super excited to announce the return of the Ruby Fizz Society in October, hosted and supported by the wonderful Bird Gallery and Studios (who share space with Bean.) You can tell us you’re coming here, but I’ll tell you all about the Ruby Fizz Salon in another post soon. It’s gonna be so spiffy.

It’s all go at the moment — lots of work, writing and über-rehearsals for The Ragtag Band. But I’m finally recovering from whooping cough (whaaaaa — I don’t even!); my singing voice is coming back; I’ve had two poems accepted this week in two different Aussie journals; I just opened a brand new malty Assam blend; and there’s a friendly cat paw obscuring my keyboard.

See you on the flipside — or hopefully at some of these events!


INTERVIEW: Short + Sweet Theatre Festival

SHORT+SWEET THEATRE FESTIVAL, now a global affair, returns to Brisbane with a program of snappy plays. I caught up with SEAN DENNEHY, festival director, for a short+sweet Q&A.

ZF: S+S Festival brings us 40 different plays from 40 different writers. How short is the shortest?
SD: In real time, about 6 and a half minutes. In your mind,it could be a lifetime or the blink of an eye.

ZF: And, of course, which play is the sweetest?
SD: A play that includes the shadows of life and non-human actors has got to be sweet innovation: Jennifer Bismire’s Doll’s House.

ZF: A short novel is a novella and a short short story is flash fiction — invent a fitting new name for the “short play”, if there isn’t one already.
SD: There isn’t and i’m going to say bite-size.

ZF: Tell me a short, sweet or surprising fact about one of the artists you’ve been working with for the festival.
SD: Caterina Hibberd directed for the mainstage Queensland Theatre Company season in 2012.

ZF: Short+Sweet welcomes a number of independent companies this year. What do they bring to the festival?
SD: Independent theatre companies are the lifeblood of innovation and experimentation in the performing arts. They bring an edge to Short+Sweet as they try new ways to wow their audiences


ZF: From drama to comedy to puppetry, is there one genre that you feel best fits the short form?
SD: Each genre brings its own challenges; to make the audience care about the characters in a 10-minute drama requires total engagement from the writer, director and actors. Comedy can be so subjective — the three creatives involved have to commit to perfect comedic timing. So no there is no one genre.

ZF: What’s the best thing about an evening of short plays?
SD: If you don’t like one play, you only have 10 minutes to wait for the next one. It’s also like having all your senses bombarded at once!

ZF: What’s the biggest challenge in directing a festival of little plays?
SD: The number of artists involved! A community event like this can involve up to 200 artists!

ZF: What about Queensland talent does S+S represent for you?
SD: It represents the wealth and depth of talent in Qld — talent that can be world-class, or talent that is happy to stay and enrich this state from the inside out

ZF: If S+S Festival were a dessert, what would it be?

SHORT+SWEET FESTIVAL runs at QUT’s The Loft from 18 to 25 Aug. If you live down the coast or want to start your bite-sized theatre feast early, S+S Gold Coast runs at the Arts Centre Gold Coast from 30 Jul to 3 Aug.

February Poetuary Mortuary Events…

I have two spectacular (and very different) events to kick off the year (since January was something of a write-off for many of us)…

Lady Marlene presents My Vicious Valentine

Shake off the sugar of the the Saint’s day itself with some vicious, vermicious Valentine’s venom at in West End on Feb 17. I’ll be performing some vile love poems — and even, perhaps, brandishing my singing voice — with the Ragtag Band and Lady Marlene’s bevy of burlesque belles. Consider it my cabaret debut. Bookings are essential — dine in or nab a seat at the bar. The Loft, Feb 17, 6.30pm.

Riverbend Poetry Series 1

On the deck at my favourite Brisbane bookshop, I’m very fortunate to be able to read alongside Anthony Lawrence and Vanessa Page. Julie Beveridge, Carmen Leigh Keates, Chris Lynch and Cindy Keong will also launch their Choose Your Own Poetry Adventure amplified e-book. I’ll be previewing poems from the manuscript I completed recently at Varuna, in the Blue Mountains. Bookings are essential. Riverbend Books, Feb. 19.