Tuesday, July 31, 2007

McSweeney's makes me laugh.

I have a penchant for toilet humour - Sad but true - a well timed fart gag will have me rolling in the aisles, tears streaming down my cheeks and emitting a weird high pitch giggle that I have no recollection of picking up. Now - marry that concept with practical joke tricks and I'm a mess. Thank you McSweeney's...

No. 86:
Novelty Items—
Some Novelty Items
That Never Caught On.

From Comedy by the Numbers
by Eric Hoffman and Gary Rudoren

- - - -

Itchy milk

Exploding eye patch

Shit gum

Gassy nun's habit

"You're Dead, Cocksucker" inscribed pencils


Syphilis ink pen


"Stinky" drink coasters

Placebo suntan lotion

"Squirting" glass eye

Hobo negligee

Leaky-mercury anal thermometer

Farting brick

Measles underwear

Asbestos wig

Bendy turd


Weewee toothpicks

Bouncing ice cubes

Indestructible ice cream

Pills that make you vomit boxing gloves

Prancing foot-odor mustache

Lice beer

Faux insulin

Jumbo eyelash

"My Other Car Has Cancer" bumper sticker

Poo-poo eye drops

Sexy edible shoe insoles

Shrinky toilet paper

Invisible-ink "Missing Child" poster

President Anne Frank dollar bill

Halitosis adult board game

Vomit bikini

"Keep On Truckin'" inscribed on the head of a pin

Glow-in-the-dark elephantiasis glitter

"World's Greatest Grampa" coffin comforter

Pet fingernail

Friday, July 27, 2007

Amors in the news...

I missed the hard copy last Wednesday but here's the online version:

Artists in the frame
(full article from the link)

"...In contrast to her representation of Crooks, Payes' portraits of another Melbourne artist, Rick Amor, are classic images of the artist in his studio. They reflect his elder statesman position in the art world and his old-school approach to his craft: his studio is a place of easels, the smell of oil paints and inspiration on the wall, from photographs of loved ones, to small treasured original works by artists such as John Brack and Jacques Villon.

A painter, but also an illustrator, print maker and sculptor, Amor has been based at this home studio since 1994. His leafy Alphington garden beckons but he keeps the blinds down most of the time, preferring the even glow cast by skylights.

Payes' photographs reflect Amor's paintings: stern and somewhat dark but with a metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel. They represent a quiet man with an undercurrent of humour, who was embarking on treatment for leukaemia the day after the shoot, but still able to reveal a warm personality.

"It's a bit disappointing I look so sick but it's a record of how I looked at the time," says Amor, who's now well.

But Amor is pleased with what Payes captured. He was impressed with the way she photographed things no one else had thought to, like the boxed action figure his son created.

He's even more impressed that Payes managed to capture the sunny side of himself. "I said to my wife, Meg: 'It's amazing, Sonia's got me actually smiling in these pictures!' Being of the Patrick White school of posing, I don't smile for the camera. That's because she flirts - she smiles at you when she takes the photograph, and you smile back."

It's no surprise, then, to learn that except in cases where she already knew the artists, for Payes the photo shoots for her book were "like a blind date". Unlike most blind dates "it was fantastic with all of them", she says.

Untitled. Portraits of Australian Artists is published by Macmillan. Selected photos from the book will be exhibited from next Tuesday to August 25 at Charles Nodrum Gallery, Richmond.

LINK: http://www.untitledportraits.com.au


I'm also proud to have contributed to the always excellent Cartoon Brew this week.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Show and Business

The Impro Melbourne Cave season has been going from strength to strength - full houses, fantastic work and some hilarious moments which are now lost forever (curse the transitory nature of improvisation - why wasn't someone making a crappy tape of the night?). I debuted my two handed format idea - Double Stunt - (liberally borrowed from Maestro and Full Body Contact No Love Tennis) to much acclaim (for the improvisers - I was a bit stumblymouthed that night).

Coming up this weekend (Sunday July 29th) I'm hosting Gorilla at 7.30 and then performing in Uber-Improv which according to the blurb is: "Sausage. Schnapps. Lederhosen. All things German, but all things unlikely to be seen in Uber Improv. Be exhilarated. Be thrilled. Be efficiently entertained by the Cave's special international guests. Directed by Mark Gambino & Sean Fabri." Any clearer? Excellent.

July means good times in the corporate world and I have been getting lots of work in Melbourne and interstate. Yesterday I flew to Brisbane and caught up with Dan Beeston from the Impro Mafia crew and had a good chat about all things post Brisbane Festival where they suffered at the cold, cruel steely eyes of Shawn Kinley (oh c'mon I'm being tongue in cheek - the man is lovely). I had the pleasure of watching Shawn perform in the Mega-Maestro last week and then do an all too brief workshop with him on Monday night before he had to jet-set off to his next destination. He's ace.

I've also been asked to be the narrative judge at the Sydney Celebrity Theatresports show on the 4th August which is a great honour and I'm looking forward to catching up with Impro Australia stalwarts, Scrabblers and Blankers (sounds like a cast for The Warriors).

Oh and if you look at the Celebrity Theatresports design and think - "hey - lookin' good, very Bondish" - I thank ya.

In addition to the vice-like grip MySpace had on me I've also added Facebook to my list of "inconsequential things to fill in the time until I die"

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Like the arts needs more negativity...

Look, I really, really wanted to like it. Truly. It's a huge undertaking with a massive amount of risk involved and hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line. I'm sure the acts are all top of their field, the music - avant garde, the dancing - modern yet with a nod to history (done by way of contact improvisation no doubt) and the overall theme incredibly provocotive and cutting edge.

It's just that I don't want to see one bloody bit of it.

I look around at the companies performing here and overseas and wonder how a festival AD and her board could get it so wrong? (and get away with it)

The trouble is, of course, it'll rake in a huge amount of dollars from deluded Melburnians who are racking up their culture karma points in one fell swoop (leaving the rest of the year bare - and the local productions struggling). I bet if you asked them what they thought of the festival they'd wave their hands in the air and say it was "simply wunnerful darling" like some nightmarish Jeannie Little (a tautology?)

Gross generalisations and character assassinations aside - I personally found the 2007 program well meaning but acts (new and recycled) empty and trite.

...and perhaps it's biggest crime - it's completely devoid of humour.

While Goering may have said "When I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver." I think Groucho Marx said it best "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A self indulgent moment passing...

It's been a crazy couple of weeks - I've played a middle range crook, a car dealer and a Red Cross worker, a Dutch lover, a terminator from the future, a host, a drunken homosexual theatre luvvy, a beat poet, a sports coach, a piece of broccoli, an illustrator, a friend, a bad dad, a smoker, a late night phone sex caller and a pathetic ex husband.

Oh, I've been to the Blue Diamond and the aisle of Safeway while I've sipped vodka on the spot
I've moved like Marlow in Monte Carlo and showed 'em what I've got
I've been undressed by the costume dept and I've seen some things that a man ain't supposed to see

I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me

Monday, July 09, 2007

It's a Mad Pad...man

Ok, so I got meself some new digs, dig?

Let me take you on a tour:

The studio/den/bat-pole - handy for my latest exercise regime. Also notice the largest slab of tasty cheese in the world (ebay really is amazing)

The West wing of the new loungeroom - with it's spectacular views of Ivanhoe and all the surrounding suburbs. Also note the 'state of the art' stereo system - "doof doof" never sounded so good.

The East wing: simple elegant and full of the homely touches that screams out "Single man with Two Kids" Note: not sure where the staircase leads to... it needs a rail or I'll have to get some rope and a bunch of crampons...

The Kitchen - an enamel wonder - the green ooze outside my window is worrying though...

More shots can be found here.

So in honour of my swinging new bachelor pad I thought I'd splash out and purchase some natty new ties for when friends come to call or... if I want to impress a certain lady.... Look out! Grrrrr.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Latest job

From the Herald Sun

Filming kicks off on gangland feud

Fiona Byrne

July 01, 2007 12:00am

FILMING starts tomorrow on a big-budget TV drama about Melbourne's murky underworld war.

Underbelly, a 13-part series being made by Channel 9, will detail the events of the long-running and bloody gangland stoush.

Filming is expected to take place at locations around the city where the real-life events occurred.

A powerful cast has been assembled to bring the deadly story to the screen.

Simon Westaway, whose credits include Janus, Wildside and Through My Eyes, plays underworld figure Mick Gatto.

Mr Gatto and Westaway met at a Carlton restaurant during the week to to discuss the Underbelly project.

"As an actor, it was a pleasure to meet Mr Gatto and will certainly help my portrayal of him throughout the series," Westaway said.

Mr Gatto was cleared of murder after shooting hitman Andrew "Benji" Veniamin in a Carlton restaurant in March, 2004.

A jury accepted that he acted in self-defence.

Several Underbelly cast members gathered at St Kilda restaurant Circa on Wednesday evening for drinks after a read-through of the script.

The series will be aired next year.

Lantana and Chopper star Vince Colosimo will portray murdered standover man Alphonse Gangitano.

Robert Mammone will play accused murderer Tony Mokbel and Gyton Grantley will portray confessed baby-faced killer Carl Williams.

Former Blue Heelers star Martin Sacks plays murdered underworld figure Mario Condello.

Caroline Gillmer will portray gangland matriarch Judy Moran and Kevin Harrington her murdered husband Lewis Moran.

Kat Stewart will play Roberta Williams, estranged wife of killer Carl, with former Neighbours star Madeleine West portraying Mokbel's partner Danielle McGuire.

Last Man Standing star Rodger Corser and Caroline Craig (Blue Heelers) will play detectives who head the investigation.