Wil Anderson, Lindsay Webb and pissed punters

I haven’t seen a lot of live comedy. Not for any particular reason other than – in my previous life I was occasionally apathetic about doing ‘stuff’. My working week felt really full-on; so much so that on weekends I really just wanted to hibernate.

In fact, other than seeing the guys from Oz TV show, The Chaser at a writers festival, the only other comedy act I can recall seeing was an Irish comedian / actor – Dylan Moran. (Who I find bizarrely attractive in his role as Bernard in the TV show Black Books!)

But, because I’m trying to be a ‘joiner’ in my new hometown, I’m doing more than I would previously have done. That means going to some festivals and shows which I’d prefer to avoid as well as those I’m keen to attend.

When I saw Wil Anderson was coming to Hervey Bay I was stoked. I’m not a rabid stalker-like fan, but I remember the days of The Glasshouse and love the Gruen franchise. A friend and I bought our tickets as soon as they went on sale, lest we miss out, and a month or so later rocked up to the RSL (my first visit other than for meetings!).

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There was a good crowd. 300+ I think, which is great. I loved that there were a wide range of peeps there as well – crisscrossing the generations. Indeed there seemed to be entire families in attendance.

And support act (Brissy comedian) Lindsay Webb was friggin’ hilarious. He mostly chatted to the audience, thought on his feet and had us all in hysterics.

Although it was during Lindsay’s performance… we started to see the ugly side of attention-seeking pissy patrons.

Sadly by the time Wil appeared a few members of the crowd were fairly shit-faced.

I suspect I sound like a nanna; but I enjoy a drink as much as the next person. Back in the day I had those nights when I was as pissed as a fart or struggled to remember what happened between arriving at the races at 2pm and being in my kitchen 8hrs later.  But I like to think I was never rude or disrespectful when pissed. (Although I’m fairly sure I was amazingly witty and hilarious!)

I guess live performers are used to the ‘great unwashed’ rabble, but I was really disappointed in the behavior of a few attendees. They’d obviously been drinking heavily before the show started and others at our table agreed that it was a waste of $40 to come to something like that and struggle to remember any of it the next day.

Worse than that though, they ruined the show for other punters. One woman constantly shouted out comments throughout the show (although was silent at the end and I was wondering if she fell asleep); another guy chatted to friends at his table constantly; a couple of pissed women stood to one side (near the bar) and talked LOUDLY – seemingly not paying any attention to Lindsay or Wil; and one woman interrupted Wil’s routine with a ridiculously inane question about our foreign Minister. I mean… What. The. Actual. Fuck?!

I felt terribly embarrassed: We have quality performers coming to our town and we disrespect them?!

Earlier in the day I saw a tweet from a young person complaining about Hervey Bay residents.

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“Oh, that’s a bit harsh,” I thought when I read it. But just hours later I was thinking the same thing.

Having said that – and had my whinge – I know that the majority of people in the town and region and those at last night’s show, aren’t rude or ignorant. However… sometimes it’s easy to forget that.

#Inothernews, Wil was also great. He was a bit thrown by the Julie Bishop question but other than that I loved his rants about the media – particularly talkback radio (as I just had a similar rant in my Debbish blog!).

PS. And Sarah… I’m fairly sure Julie Bishop is female. Had your question touched on her competence or policies it might have provided Wil with some comedic fodder, alas…

Maryborough Open House

Last year I was very briefly homeless during my move from Brisbane to Hervey Bay. Unsurprisingly the settlement for the sale of my old place and purchase of my new place didn’t quite synchronise so I bunked at my mother’s in Maryborough for a nearly a week.

As coincidence would have it, the inaugural Maryborough Open House took place while I was there.

I’m actually not much of a tourist (ie – I hate sightseeing and similar); but as I was determined to make more of an effort in my new life to participate in community events, the Open House gave me the perfect opportunity to start on the right foot! #orsomething

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Fortunately my mother had been to a few of the places with another friend the day before so – being well-versed in my low level of tolerance – she whipped up a list of ‘what we should see’.

You’ll see from last year’s post that (surprisingly) I enjoyed the visits (fave places in the pic to the left!) and used it to get some ideas for my new abode. Indeed – my new place is far brighter and cheerier than my last apartment. I even have a patchwork quilt!

And – after that long introduction – I’m pleased to say that it’s THAT time again.

The 2013 Maryborough Open House Event will be held over the weekend of 26-27 October.

Last year I predominantly stuck to houses so I’m aiming to target some different places this year and am particularly keen on visiting some of Maryborough’s CBD and riverside beauties. I vaguely recollect borrowing Noddy books from the School of the Arts in the early-mid 1970s so am eager to see if it rekindles any old memories. (Pic below from Open House Facebook page!)

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full list of buildings and houses which will be open to the public is available from the website, which also includes details of how to get to Maryborough and accommodation information.

There’s a program of events attached to the Open House celebrations, including a guided bus tour and archeological dig and the festivities will also coincide with regular events –  cemetery tours, ghost tours, Gatakers by Night and Sunday in the Park.

You may recall I enjoyed the last Gatakers by Night event so I’ll be dragging someone along to that with me on Saturday 26 October. I understand the entertainment this time around includes a local choral group doing excerpts from Broadway musicals as well as a classical guitarist. Drinks are available for purchase on the night (beer, wine, tea, coffee and softdrinks) as well as wood-fired pizzas and I believe there’s usually cake!

To keep up-to-date you may wish to ‘like’ Maryborough Open House on Facebook.

Will I see you there?

Too much of a good thing?

The inaugural Hervey Bay Food and Wine Festival took place on the weekend – a two-day event held in the Pier Park at Urangan.

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I was keen to attend (as I live near the Pier Park where it was held) but prevaricated a little. On one hand I like to try to support local events and – well… wine, music and food – what’s not to love? On the other hand, I’m a bit festivalled-out.

I gather (from talking to friends and family) that others feel the same. There have been A LOT of big events packed into the last six or so months here on the Fraser Coast: Relish, Mary Poppins Festival, Craft Festival, Whale Festival and the Seafood Festival.

In the last month alone in Hervey Bay, we’ve had the Pier Festival, 150th birthday celebrations, Tour de Bay and now the Food and Wine Festival. On top of that we’ve got the Beerfest,  Torbanlea Races, Maryborough Open House and Melbourne Cup celebrations in the next month. To cap all of that off, there’s my one-year-back-on-the-Fraser Coast-anniversary! (Obviously a cause of celebration. Or national holiday or similar! 😉 )

I know (from the Festival’s Facebook page) that the $15 entry fee turned a lot of people off. I understand the need to charge a fee: but Relish was $10 – and included a lot more activities for your money; and the Seafood Festival was $5.

I don’t go out a lot however, so was prepared to pay the entry fee and went along for a few hours on Sunday.

On a positive note, the entry fee meant that the festival probably attracted a different crowd to those who usually attend local markets or pub events (ie. no one was likely to get wasted and vomit on you or yell obscenities at the band).

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I hadn’t known about the event until just a couple of weeks before it was held, so I’m not sure how far ahead it was planned. I know the organisers were still working on the music the week before the festival – so I was worried about what I’d find, however… I was pleasantly surprised.

I understand there were a few hiccups and organisers hope for bigger crowds in future, but in essence the event seemed quite successful – for we festival-goers anyway!

There were more wine-tasting options than I expected (though I know some would have liked to see more local wineries). And the ability to buy a glass/bottle of wine or champagne (or beer etc) to enjoy on the day was great.

After my disappointment at the Migaloo Starlight Swing, I was happy to know that there’d be a few food options and indeed Aquavue was on hand serving some salads (my friends partook in a prawn and mango salad with orange and mustard dressing which was apparently yummy); Wild Lotus offered up a steak sandwich that was much more – deliciously tender beef on sourdough etc. My friend who hates steak sandwiches, RAVED about the beef. Bayswater Hotel was serving antipasto platters and a squid salad; and there were pizzas and pancakes as well as coffee vans. (Something for everyone – though as a non-salad-eating coeliac – I struggled a little.)

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I was also pleasantly surprised by the music. The acts had a bluesy feel and I was a tad tempted to hang around longer than planned to kick back, partake in more champers and enjoy the atmosphere.

Happily undercover seating was provided and as the day wore on there was heaps of shade for those who’d brought blankets or their own chairs.

I’d definitely go back, and I know organisers are thinking of running the festival again, but I do wonder if it could be paired with something else rather than being yet another separate event. And – feedback will be interesting – but organisers may also want to look at the cost in future years.

Did you attend, or did (or would) the $15 entrance fee put you off?

Gatakers by Night

It took a while but I finally made it to Maryborough’s monthly soirée at the gorgeous Gatakers Artspace (within the Portside Precinct) – Gatakers by Night.

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Held on the last Saturday of the month (from 5-9pm) the free event features musicians and the opportunity to partake in the Night Watchman’s tour, visit the Military museum and often incorporates the launch or opening of a new show at the art gallery. Of course, if you’re like me you’re happy to kick back with a glass of bubbly (or two!) and enjoy the intimate environment and entertainment on offer.

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Wine, beer and softdrinks are available as well as a coffee van. Stalls offering pizza and cakes (mud cake or pavlova!) were also on hand. I would have liked a bit more variety (as a coeliac) but did note that the food available can vary from event to event.

September’s Gatakers by Night (GBN to those of us in the know… actually that’s a lie. I’m just using the acronym to avoid having to type the entire phrase again and again!)  featured local Irish band, Slainte – who everyone agreed were just fabulous.

printspaceThe new printspace – a collaborative project between Gatakers Artspace and local printmakers – was also launched in a building adjacent and I look forward to seeing the printing equipment (donated by Sue Flavel) in action down the track. Watching artists doing their thing is something GBN offers which you don’t find elsewhere.

And now the equipment is in place printmaking workshops are being held on a regular basis.

September’s GBN also featured a fashion parade – supported by Bundaberg designer Julie Appo featuring some amazing textiles,  and fabrics – part of a training course for local Butchilla girls.

girlsIt was a great opportunity for those involved AND we had the opportunity to see some gorgeous designs. Incidentally, I later checked out Julie’s website (as I really liked a couple of the pieces in the parade) and discovered that she also makes / sells accessories and homewares!

It appears she’s just setting up her online store but I wondered if she’s considered distributing her fashion and goods through other places – there’s a new art gallery / store on the Esplanade at Urangan which would be a good match!

compentriesI hadn’t been to the latest shows in the gallery so wandered through and was incredibly impressed by Visual Art entries (right) in the North Coast North Exhibition – part of the Creative Generation Awards involving a number of schools in the region.

For those interested, the Fraser Coast Chronicle ran this story in relation to the show, as two pieces by Aldridge State High School students have been selected to be displayed at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane next year.

art downstairsI also loved the rest of the work at the gallery (those on the left were my fave and yes, it appears I have a penchant for the bright and colourful!). I also enjoyed watching local artists in action, including  Brett Jones who launched his drawing magazine on the night – in an Australian first.

I loved so much about the evening. And it was interesting to see an entirely different crowd of people. Quite frankly I never knew there were as many edgy older women and funky young people in the area!

I’ll most definitely be back for more!

For information about the next GBN and other Fraser Coast Events check here, or like them on Facebook.

Migaloo Starlight Swing

I need to share this before I go any further….

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Yes, it’s true. I assumed that the final event of the The Whale Festival involved an actual swing. I didn’t quite flesh-out the image in my own mind… but some sort of fairy-lit giant swing actually seemed and sounded quite romantic. And fun.

However, I soon discovered that the aforementioned ‘swing’ had little to do with the things-found-in-parks, and more to do with music and dance. #Woteva!

As Pier Park is a short wander from my place I decided it was a Must-Do and made arrangements with a friend.

I have to admit that I hadn’t seen a lot of publicity beforehand – other than stuff on Facebook, which I shared – but it was there I discovered that those keen to get in the mood should dress up: white frocks (in honour of Migaloo) for the ladies and bow ties and so forth for the gents.

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I was both pleased (and frightened*) to see that some swing-night goers did take heed of the dress code and we did get to watch some dancing.

Pier Park looked absolutely gorgeous. It’s lovely at the best of times, but with additional tables and a picket fence and pretty lighting, the scene was quite magical.

My friend(s) and I discussed the need for a blanket to sit on but decided to take our chances. Indeed we were there early but missed out on tables and chairs (though probably could have invited ourselves to join those at tables with some empty chairs).

But… as we were Migaloo Starlight Swing virgins, we hadn’t realised there were no food stalls. Our diabolical plan was to eat, drink and listen to some music before waddling home. The Bayswater wine and beer stall had small antipasto platters, but (until Mr Whippy showed up) there were no other food options other than (very busy) nearby cafes.

We contemplated heading into Pavilion by the Pier, but it was closed for a private event; so we left the event a lot earlier than planned in search of dinner.

Again, it’s just a lesson for new-players and like my learnings from the Seafood Festival, something we’ll know for next year (ie. make own food / take picnic / order from local cafes earlier for easy pick-up).

I think there were to be some other musicians later in the night, but the big band we heard playing was fabulous and the music great – particularly if you’re into swing / jazz etc.

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Best of all, the Bay had turned on its charm and offered up a lovely evening… farewelling the Whale Festival and winter in spectacular fashion.

* I know this will make me sound like a biatch, but there were a few scary Bride of Frankenstein types. I’m all for raiding the local Op Shops, but some of the dresses / looks were reminiscent of Great Expectations’ Miss Havisham, resplendent in her decaying wedding dress and holed up in her dilapidated mansion! I wouldn’t be surprised if some peeps didn’t pull out their 40yr old debutante dresses! Fun but slightly tragic.

Any other suggestions for Migaloo Starlight Swing newbies?