a cultural day out – art and literature

6 05 2012

We’re avid readers and like books. While we enjoy reading digital versions on the Kindle of iPad, we’re also fond of the analogue version. So, when there’s an opportunity to rummage around looking for secondhand books, we’ll take it. So, on the weekend we paid a visit to the Central Goldfields town of Clunes for the annual Booktown Festival.

Clunes fountain
Fountain in Clune’s park.

I managed to find the third book in a trilogy I’ve just begun (had the first two) and also a few other books I’ll be keen to read. The prices vary and I guess might average $5 but there’s also some lovely collectors items that will cost a lot more. Some vendors have .50c and $1 books, one had all their books for $5 another all were $10 and then some have them marked at different prices. Lot’s of fun.

On the way to Clunes we stopped in at the Ballarat Art gallery and saw a couple of exhibitions. Firstly Marion Manifold: Through the Notebook – Marie Antoinette and some amazing linocuts. Then Kerrie Leishman: The New Beauty with some interesting painting inspired by wind turbines in the landscape. So, a bit of a cultural day out getting a fix of art, ideas and literature (well, not all literature in the strict sense). 

airports – a special type of micro/systo/eco/cosm

20 07 2011

On the road again…

Yep, heading home after a long week in Denver attending a conference and sitting in a bar at Denver airport killing time. I mean, what else can you do at an airport other than drink coffee or beer and eat. I suppose you could wander aimlessly wondering how you can spend that last $18 of local currency that’s not worth hanging onto. And it’s not worth worrying about the price because what else are you going to do?

Anyway, fairly easy trip in a shuttle out to the airport and then got changed into more comfortable travel clothes and packed the bag before checking in. Managed to get a window seat to LA and then and aisle on the jumbo for the 14 hour flight to Melbourne. I bought myself one of those travel pillows to wrap around my neck and will be very interested in how it goes. A few hours sleep between the movies will be very welcome.

Denver airport

Denver is a large airport and a significant domestic transfer hub and quite busy. Architecturally it’s special with a marquee type vinyl roof intended to reflect the Rocky Mountains. Actually looks a little like a Bedouin tent from the outside and provides a nice diffused light inside. So, people are busy eating fast food, hanging around, sleeping on the floor, browsing the stores, sponging free wifi (like me) and generally making the most of being captive in this closed system environment. Yep, there are rules and lots of security (particularly getting out to your departure gate), and I was impressed by the ‘ambassadors’ stationed around the concourses who seem to be retired people that answer questions and provide help if you need it.

I suppose the one thing everybody has in common at an airport is that they are all going somewhere – unless they are seeing someone off, or work there. There’s a mixed mood of excitement about heading off somewhere as well as one of frustration as the sense of movement is stymied by the processes and systems of security checks. I reckon fair enough, because I for one would like to be safe as I travel and recommend giving yourself some time between connections so you don’t get stressed.

Now time has been killed, and blog post written – might mosey off to my gate and then sit around to read my magazine and/or book as I’ve another hour till boarding. Oh, and hoping the new pillow will perform as advertised.

away for the weekend – heading North rather than South

11 04 2011

During the first weekend in April we enjoyed some time in Castlemaine in rural Victoria (rather than the usual trip down to Cape Otway). It happened to be the opening weekend of the (10 day) Castlemaine State Festival and we thought it would be fun to check out some of the local arts & crafts and get away for a few days. Very thankful for the perfect weather and it was fairly easy to walk around the town checking out what was on display. Amongst other things, found a large sculpture of a sitting Buddha made up of recycled computer motherboards.

Motherboard buddha

There seems to be lots of local painters, sculptors, writers etc. living in around Castlemaine and we managed to get around to see quit a few things on display in public venues as well as in their home-galleries. This meant a little bit of driving as some people live out of town. We didn’t get to see any performances (other than street buskers etc.) but great to see plenty of public activities and the farmers market on the Sunday. We also dropped into the local library and were amazed by a display of some of things that have been found in returned books.

Ex Libris Detritum

On the Saturday afternoon we caught the VLine train into Melbourne, and went to see play Café Scheherazade. This was a very special and enjoyable experience. We know the book by Arnold Zable, and have been to the cafe itself for a meal, so to watch this story performed (from the front row) was wonderful indeed. This was a lovely treatment of an emotional story(s), and managed to portray the complexities of the lives of those who have lived through the Holocaust and eventually migrated to Australia.

Fantastic that we could have some time out and be inspired by the beautiful countryside and the diverse creativity of people.




how many ways can you get yourself some culture?

26 02 2011

After a busy week for both of us it was time for a break, time-out, culture day. We headed up to Melbourne early in the morning and enjoyed seeing the Altocumulus (mackerel sky) clouds from the freeway. An easy drive up compared with the usual busy weekday traffic.

Mackerel sky

First stop the NGV Melbourne for a look at the Gustav Moreau exhibition. A great collection of work from a prolific painter & drawer. He had a thing for the old mythical dramas and had mixed up his painting style with drawing, paint (both oil & acrylic), & etching to crate a mashup type style (which brought out the critics). Also caught the Luminous Cities exhibition of photos of the built environment from the 19th through to the 20th century. Some nice old black & white photos of Rome that brought back memories of our visits there.

Headed off for a coffee and a raspberry muffin and came across the Little Bookroom (their new store) in Degraves Street. Nice shop with lovely books (for kids) and some expensive collectors items… It was interesting to compare this book business with the mega Borders & Angus & Robertson chains, and to think about the different business models. Seems one might be more successful than the other. Note to self: must check out the original Little Bookroom store in Nicholson Street some time. Then we had a quick stop of at the South Melbourne markets before heading home.

Pako paella

Then is was out to the multicultural Pako Festa – we were too late to see the parade this year. Lots of people out enjoying the afternoon with ethnic dress, food and performances making for a lively saunter down the street. Last year the kids all had silly string, but this year it was air horns and vuvuzelas (more noise – but not as messy). The Spanish were very busy dishing up (and making more) paella, and the pubs were filled to bursting. It’s great to see this festival is alive and well. All up a busy day, but great to spend time absorbing some culture.