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Melissa Sherlock

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Brave Enough? | Bendigo Writers Festival

Bendigo Writers Festival

I love to travel, whether it be overseas or around our own country; I especially love a good road trip. You can find some great things in rural Australia; unique stores full of hand-made goodies, beautiful scenery, and amazing food and wine. What I wouldn’t have expected to find is an event full of creative inspiration and motivation from some of our best writers. Bendigo has had some fantastic cultural events lately, including the recent Marilyn Monroe exhibition, and we can now add the Writers Festival as of these successes.

Bendigo Writers Festival

Brave Enough brought together Benjamin Law, Ita Buttrose, Graeme Simsion, and David Astle to speak about bravery, taking risks, and creativity in general. Cheryl Strayed was initially booked to appear (the title of the event being named after one of her books) but unfortunately had to cancel due to a family emergency.

To hear these writers, all from different fields, speak about their own creative processes and the paths they have taken to get to where they are today was utterly inspiring. This coming from an aspiring writer’s point of view of course, but it was also beneficial to anyone who is working towards a creative goal. It was so refreshing to hear differing points of view on how to build your creativity, what constitutes bravery, and if boundaries are conducive to being creative.

We must make mistakes in order to learn and move forward, this often involves taking risks. But are we really brave if what we’re doing doesn’t feel like bravery but rather something we have no choice but to do? This is just one of the questions we are left with, as well as the responses of the writers which were varied and wise, each in their own way.

It was so interesting, so heart-warming, and so funny, I think the audience could’ve sat there and listened to the writers speak for hours. To get to witness such an insightful discussion of risk-taking and writing in general was a worthwhile experience and one I would recommend to anybody needing some motivation in their creative endeavours.

The Bendigo Writers Festival had many other wonderful talks, unfortunately it only ran for the one weekend.  Melbourne Writers Festival is coming up however, and will run from August 26th until September 4th, so we should have a great deal of inspiration coming our way.

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Suicide Squad | Movie Review

Suicide Squad

It’s fair to say that assembling a gang of super villains to use as a weapon in case of an emergency is a terrible idea, but that’s what introduces us to the Suicide Squad. Made up of Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Deadshot (Will Smith), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), the Suicide Squad is a frightening mix of criminals, psychopaths, and people with supernatural powers. Blurring the line between good and evil we find ourselves sympathising with the villains and realising that not everything is black and white, even in Gotham.  For those of us who are unfamiliar with the comics we get a brief glance into the back stories of Harley Quinn, El Diablo, and Deadshot, while the other characters act as filler for the rest of the team.

Suicide Squad

Joining the main team we have Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), the leader of the squad; Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), the brains behind the whole operation; Dr. June Moone (Cara Delevingne), who has been possessed by The Enchantress; and Katana (Karen Fukuhana). There are also appearances by Batman (Ben Affleck) and The Joker (Jared Leto).

We have seen, in recent years, many superheroes team up to fight their collective enemies; including numerous Avengers and X-Men movies. However, generally, these movies often combine characters we are familiar with from their own movies, and I think that’s what Suicide Squad needed. It felt like there were too many unknown characters crammed into one story, and while the back story subplots were interesting, it left the main storyline lacking. This of course is coming from the perspective of someone who isn’t familiar with the comics and is meeting most of these characters for the first time.

There are some great characters, though; Harley Quinn and Deadshot made the movie watchable, in no small part due to the talents of Will Smith and Margot Robbie, who were brilliant as always. The Joker, who is always an exciting character to watch, was well-played by Jared Leto, although unfortunately he’s no Heath Ledger. The ending paved way for a new story revolving around The Joker and Harley Quinn, which should be great judging by the performances in Suicide Squad and the strength of the characters.

As we have come to expect from the recent bombardment of superhero films, regular villains just don’t cut it anymore. They must be bigger, better, and harder to beat. Infused with technology or other-worldly powers, they are unlike The Joker or Magneto but have become something that barely, if at all, resembles a human, as we saw in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It seems that audiences are no longer content to watch a battle of intelligence and pure strength, but want our heroes to beat larger-than-life machines and unnatural forces. Suicide Squad follows this trend with The Enchantress, who has overtaken the body of Dr. June Moone and enlisted her brother to join her in her fight against humanity.

There is a lot of action in this movie, so if you love fight scenes and destruction then you will enjoy this. However if you love the humour often found in our favourite superhero movies and the deep connection with the characters, then you may find it lacking.

Tip: Don’t forget to stay until the credits are over for an extra scene

Queen Victoria Night Market

Queen Victoria Night Market

Entering the night market on a chilly Melbourne evening you are greeted by the sight of a large crackling fire pit and the intoxicating smells from a myriad of international cuisines. As you head deeper into the market you won’t know which way to head first, with an amazing array of stalls to choose from.

Queen Victoria Night MarketThe night market is a selection of the very best market goodies; with handmade jewellery, cards and notebooks alongside plants, clothes and personalised wood engraving. With not a cheap knockoff in sight, you will be glad that you brought some cash along when you see the size of the ATM queue.

After having a wander around the stalls it’s time to decide what to eat. Maybe a Sri Lankan curry or Spanish paella, or even some soup served in a bread bowl; perfect for a winter’s night. However, there are so many delicious options, such as wood-fired pizza, authentic Australian bush tucker, and even Hawaiian, that you might find yourself having more than one dinner.

Don’t get too full though! We haven’t even covered dessert yet. Cannoli, churros, waffles with Belgian chocolate, a sundae bar, crème brûlée, it’s a sweet-lover’s dream. To wash it all down, grab yourself a hot apple cider or a jaffa hot chocolate while you take a closer look at all the stalls.

The stall-holders are friendly and will gladly tell you all about their handmade offerings, such as wooden laser-cut light cubes and beautiful coloured earrings. Get some henna applied or make your own candle as you listen to the jazz band play, then head over to the photo booth where you can get a memento of the night.

Queen Victoria Night Market

If you still need some time to work off all that food before you head home, get involved in a game of giant chess or Jenga, and see the massive old pipe organ as it plays a jangly version of your favourite Disney song.

If one thing gets you to leave the toasty cocoon of your couch for just one night this winter, make it the Queen Victoria night market.

Tips:

  • Have a light lunch, there are so many delicious food stalls to choose from!
  • Get there as early as possible before the crowds and the massive queues.

The Queen Victoria Night Market is on every Wednesday 5pm-10pm until August 31.

You talkin’ to me? | Scorsese Exhibition

scorsese

“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me?” Even if you haven’t seen Taxi Driver, one of Scorsese’s most recognised films; you can probably picture Robert DeNiro saying these words as he points his gun at the mirror in his rundown New York apartment. Some films have those iconic moments that tend to filter through to other areas of pop culture, lending references to TV shows, cartoons and even other movies. This is one of those moments.

scorsese

Scorsese uses this gritty side of New York in many of his films, taking inspiration from his own life growing up in the big apple. In ACMI presents SCORSESE we can see some of Scorsese’s earliest work and the people and places that influenced him in his early life, including personal photos and short films of his family.

The exhibition showcases over 40 years of Scorsese’s filmmaking career, displaying behind the scenes photos, props, scripts, costumes, and storyboards from many of his films. There is also a number of personal letters on display which gives us an extra glimpse into the work behind these masterpieces.

Screens are scattered throughout the exhibition, showing iconic clips from many of our favourite films, such as Cape Fear, Goodfellas, and Casino. If this little taste leaves you wanting more, you can enjoy a full screening of a number of films until the 16th of September.

If you’re interested in learning more about Scorsese and his films, or discussing them at length, there are also a number of talks and special events you can attend.

I would highly recommend this exhibition if you are interested in filmmaking and love the behind the scenes aspects and seeing some of the work that goes into making a film. You should also definitely check it out if you are a Scorsese fan and want to learn about some of his earlier work as well as revisiting his most popular films.

Scorsese is running at ACMI until September 18.

For prices and times please see https://www.acmi.net.au/exhibitions/scorsese/

A History of the Future: Imagining Melbourne

A History Of The Future City Gallery

Have you ever thought, ‘Hey, you know what’d be great in Melbourne? A giant hand-shaped building.’ No? Neither have I. But someone has, and you can see their design for it at the History of the Future exhibition, currently running at City Gallery.

History of the Future City Gallery

Along with the giant hand you can also see other ideas for the development of Melbourne, going as far back as 1860. There are giant pyramids, a ship canal through the city and a giant glass tower, as well as some more realistic plans.

My favourite though, has to be the depiction of Melbourne in 1970 (published in 1943) of large helicopter-like ships flying around the city, landing via help from beams of. I am sure that the man who envisioned such a scene would be disappointed that in 2016 we are still, for the most part, getting around on the ground.

It is interesting to see what ideas people of the past had and what they thought that the Melbourne of the future would be like. We can laugh at some of the more far-fetched ideas, but what do we envision for our own future? Luckily, you can see for yourself via the interactive screen, where you can view other people’s ideas and even submit your own.

In these submissions, there seems to be a theme of making Melbourne more eco-friendly and making art a priority, with many suggestions of new art spaces and projects. There are also ideas to make use of the empty space of Flinders Street Station.

We don’t know what Melbourne will look like 20, 50, even 100 years in the future, possibly just more rooftop farms and renewable energy sources, but it’s fun to imagine.

Maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll get our spaceships and we can finally live like the Jetsons. At the very least, it’s about time we got some hoverboards so our Back to the Future dreams can come true.

Tip-don’t forget to check out the panoramic drawing that wraps around the room, which shows what the landscape of Melbourne would look like had all these ideas come to be.

A History of the Future runs until August 12.

City Gallery

Monday: 10am to 2pm
Tuesday to Friday: 11am to 6pm
Saturday: 10am to 4pm

Closed Sunday and public holidays