Making the most of what’s on offer

Last week I submitted my first ever article for publication and amazingly the Fraser Coast Chronicle printed it. Because I am *ahem* somewhat verbose, it was much longer than required and had to be culled. A friend suggested I put the entire thing on this blog, given that it’s got a local flavour, so here we go…

My biggest fear on returning to the Fraser Coast after a couple of decades was that that I’d find the region a cultural wasteland.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m hardly the opera-going type, I dislike most stage shows and don’t hang out at music festivals every second weekend. But Brisbane, like most large cities, always had something on offer. So even if I was happier at home watching DVDs and recovering from my working week I knew I could go to trendy markets, a local festival or catch a comedy show.

Which is why I’ve been pleasantly surprised by what I’ve found on offer since returning to the Fraser Coast.

I’m not normally a ‘joiner’ but have been busier here than I was in Brisbane. In fact, in my first year back I was kept so busy I even suffered from event-going-fatigue.

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Maryborough Regional Arts Council – foreign film night. May 2015

Many people I meet complain there’s nothing to do and yet when I ask them if they’re heading to Relish Festival, Paddle Out For Whales, Sunday Riverside or Flickerfest they screw up their collective noses.

“I can’t be bothered,” they might say.

Interestingly, it’s not the out-of-town shows or big names performing at the Brolga Theatre catching my attention; it’s the Council and community events I most appreciate.

While I’m more than happy to bag the Fraser Coast Regional Council when (I believe) it deserves it, I love that it’s making an effort to entertain its residents and foster a sense of community and culture. Purists and traditionalists may argue for a focus on roads, rates and rubbish but people won’t stay here if there’s nothing to do. We’re not all great at entertaining ourselves and for many—pubs, clubs and weekend sporting fixtures just don’t cut it.

The first time I attended Gatakers By Night I looked around wondering where this eclectic group of people usually hid. Even my mother who knows half of Maryborough saw a lot of different faces.

Gatakers by Night in March 2015. More popular than ever!

Gatakers by Night in March 2015. More popular than ever!

Although you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming to a museum, I also recently visited the dinosaur display in the Maryborough City Hall, hoping the Friday night pop-up bar attracted other likeminded Fraser Coasters keen for something different. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t!)

I’ve started attending the foreign film nights run by the Maryborough Arts Council and will be at upcoming events like the Mary Poppins and Whale Festivals with bells on. Or at least with a vague sense of enthusiasm.

Of course not all events are free, but many are and most offer something for everyone. I don’t always appreciate the music on offer at Gatakers by Night but Iove its festive feeling and take the opportunity to have a couple of wines and visit the art gallery each month.

And although (quite frankly) I hate crowds, it’s wonderful to experience the energetic atmosphere of Relish or the Seafood Festival and celebrate with other Fraser Coasters.

Most importantly however, I’m just turning up. I’m making the effort to support what’s on—conscious we may ‘lose it, if we don’t use it’.

Although I’m a well-seasoned whinger it’s not enough to sit back and complain if you can’t be bothered making the most of what’s there. And that’s something even I need to remind myself every so often.

Foreign films & Flickerfest on the Fraser Coast

Foreign Films in the Federation Room

It’s only taken me three months but I finally accompanied my friend Ruth to see one of the foreign films on show at the Brolga Theatre this week.

The selection of movies, hosted by the Maryborough Regional Arts Council, have been shown on the second Wednesday of the month since February.

From Fraser Coast Scene. And I'm not sure why April and May are around the wrong way.

From Fraser Coast Scene. And I’m not sure why April and May are around the wrong way.

Because of my *ahem* discerning taste (read: laziness) I’d checked out each of the films on offer and planned to attend the final three. This month’s movie, The Lunchbox, was a lovely film from India featuring Mumbai’s very orderly lunchbox delivery system. That alone was easily worth the $12 admission cost. But in case you were wondering, it was also very quirky and moving.

Next on the agenda (on 13 May) is Ida, about a nun in 1960s Poland. It won the Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars and is apparently heavy going but amazing. And… I. Cannot. Wait.

And finally in late June, I’m off to see Force Majeure from Sweden about an avalanche and its impact on a family on a skiing holiday.

Tickets are $12 for non members or $10 for Maryborough Arts Council members and include wine and nibbles after the film. The movies start at 6.30pm and—a note for newcomers—are shown in the Federation room which you enter from the rear (river side) of the Brolga theatre.

 

Flickerfest at the brolga

Maryborough is one of only nine cities in Queensland to play host to the popular Flickerfest. The festival of short films began almost 25 years ago and is the only international  ‘Academy’ and BAFTA-recognised competitive film festival.

FLICKERFEST fraser coast

The 2015 Flickerfest, ‘License to Thrill’ kicked off in Sydney in January before touring the country. Films will be shown across two sessions at the Brolga theatre on 22 April 2015.

The first session, commences at 6.30pm and features the Best of Australian Shorts. After intermission you can get your giggle on with the Short Laughs Comedy – On Tour, starting at 8.45pm. (NB. Links in this paragraph link to information about the films on offer.)

Visit the Our Fraser Coast site for info or bookings.

Tickets for single sessions are: $12 or $10 for friends of the Brolga / members of Maryborough Arts Council; or $20 / $18 for both sessions. 

Hervey Bay Cinemas – Bigscreen Showcase

Elsewhere I’ve confessed to being a television addict. I don’t watch anything and everything and I do believe I have a *ahem* discerning TV-viewing palate; however I do love to binge-watch entire series of TV on DVD on a regular basis.

I was once similarly keen on movies. While at University (though poor) I’d take myself off to the city cinemas on a regular basis – handing over my student card for a discounted ticket. I went almost weekly at one point and became so accustomed to going alone I actually felt disgruntled when friends wanted to accompany me. Of course in those days I also frequented the cinema at University (the Schonell) which showed some edgy arthouse movies – again, at good prices.

But over the years I’ve been to the cinema less and less, preferring to wait until something’s out on DVD so I can watch it in the comfort of my own home.

However… my movie-going lethargy has been broken as I’ve attended THREE movies in the last three weeks alone! (And, I’m starting to get my movie-going groove back!)

I’m a member of the Hervey Bay Arts Council so received this little gem in my email inbox a month or so ago. Naturally I shared it on the FraserCoasting Facebook page and forwarded it to some friends.

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My friends and I were quite excited by the concept of the Showcase at the BigScreen Cinemas Hervey Bay  – presumably featuring movies which might not normally make it here AND selling tickets at a good price.

One of my girlfriends saw four of the five movies on offer, while I saw The Butler (loved it); Blue Jasmine (Cate Blanchett was amazing but I did clock-watch a bit); and Mystery Road (bleak, mesmerising, but simultaneously frustrating).

We talked to a staffer at the cinema this past weekend and she said there may be more Showcase movies in the New Year.

Of course the only regrettable aspect was that the movies weren’t particularly well-attended. The majority garnered a small audience but there were only a handful of people at Mystery Road (an Aussie movie filmed in Winton).

They weren’t publicised any more than the other movies on offer and perhaps I’ll try to do more to promote the Showcase in future as I’m sure there’s a heap of potential movie-goers on the Fraser Coast who’d appreciate something different.

And – again – we can hardly complain about stuff NOT coming to our regional beachside town if we don’t support it when it does!