Saturday, December 31, 2016

Gloria Steinem

L-R: Gloria Steinem and Virginia Trioli on stage at Melbourne Town Hall, 16 May, 2016

2016 has certainly been a year of extreme contrasts and, speaking personally, it was another exceedingly busy one in the studio. So much so, in fact, that there were some items I simply didn’t have time to post when they were still current. Frustratingly, that included one of this year’s high points. At the end of most years (or sometimes at the start of the new one) I've selected personal highlights from the past twelve months. This time I've decided to concentrate solely on this one.

It’s not too often one gets to see a lifelong hero in the flesh, however, it happened to me on 16 May, 2016, when I was among the audience at Melbourne Town Hall to witness Gloria Steinem being interviewed by Melbourne journalist, Virginia Trioli.

As the seating wasn't numbered, I decided to turn up early in order to secure a place near the front of the queue; hopefully this would in turn lead to a good seat. The event had received relatively little publicity, but when I arrived at the Town Hall entrance in Swanston Street, the queue was already leading around the corner. I joined it there, and before long it had snaked on up Collins Street, as far as the eye could see. Once inside the town hall, I was dismayed to see that entire rows of the best seats, including those in the front row, had been reserved. I consoled myself with a position several rows back on the far right of the hall that was far from ideal, but could have been a lot worse. Minutes before the interview commenced, however, many of the reserved signs were removed. Moving quickly, I found myself front row centre, from where the photographs in this post were taken. I had to keep pinching myself at my good fortune, especially since in the end there wasn’t an empty seat in the house.

Narrowing the dozens of photos I took to the handful posted here was a considerable challenge

At the time, Steinem had just released her autobiographical book, My Life on the Road. (A signed copy of the book was included with our tickets). Prompted by Trioli, she talked about her life, beginning with her early years, gravitating to her activism for women's rights, a cause she has devoted her life to. She spoke of how much has been gained, but also the ground we have lost and how much further we still have to go. And this was before the 2016 US election! 

Steinem stood to take a well deserved bow at the evening's end; she received a standing ovation 

The evening is well summarised HERE.

Thank you, Readings Books, for making the evening possible and thank you, Gloria Steinem, for, well, just about everything.

Wishing everyone the very best for 2017.